Children’s Classic Concerts

Christmas is coming!

Owen and Olly are firmly in the festive spirit and really looking forward to our Tinseltown concerts next weekend! We want to share a wee film recorded at the Paisley Xmas lights switch-on a little while ago, with an exclusive insight into life at Christmas for our dynamic duo! Get the low-down on their favourite festive films, their most annoying Xmas songs, when they get the decorations up and more! Click here to view...


Planning a Programme: Behind the Scenes with Cressida McKay

We're thrilled to be collaborating with NYOS Camerata (the showcase, pre-professional chamber ensemble of the National Youth Orchestras of Scotland) for the first time next month at Glasgow Life's Big Music for Minis Festival. Cressida (flute) was involved in an artistic planning meeting and has kindly reflected on the process of curating 'Melody Quest'. We're very grateful to her for taking the time to do this, allowing an insight into the intricacies of putting a programme together. Owen and Olly are looking forward to welcoming NYOS Camerata on stage, and we hope that the students are provided with an invaluable professional development experience to equip them for a career in music.

"Planning for the Melody Quest concerts with CCC started in late July with a meeting in the NYOS offices. There was me (NYOS flautist), with Malcolm (NYOS horn player), Roanna (NYOS violinist), the conductor Holly Mathieson and the general manager of the concerts, Cath Earnshaw.

We began by looking at a list of music, along with the costumes and props from previous CCC concerts. There was a massive variety on offer - from a Loch Ness monster made out of IKEA hanging-baskets to Ninja Catsuits made of Lycra. Apparently Olly and Owen aren’t the biggest fans of these! They’re O Duo, the percussionist stars of the show.

In the end our attention was grabbed by a remote-controlled shark that could chase Olly and Owen all around the stage with someone controlling it from the wings. Cath’s enthusiasm for this prop was infectious and we were certain that whatever else we chose, the shark would definitely have to be used in our performance.

This led us to the idea of basing the performance around musicians being on a ship. That way the shark could chase us all.  We also thought that if the ship was travelling around the world it would allow for a large variety of music to be fitted in.
There is so much orchestral repertoire and so many different things to consider when deciding what to play. We decided it would be best to plan the route we wanted our ship sail so that we could make sure we had a piece of music for each country.

We also kept in mind that the repertoire had to be varied, to keep the audience entertained, and it had to use the whole orchestra as much as possible so no one would be bored.

And we had to remember that unless a piece was out of copyright it could be expensive and not within the budget to rent or arrange it. This became clear when we thought about playing an orchestral arrangement of Chinese folk melodies: to rent the parts would have cost £1000. Definitely not a possibility.
Finally we wanted to make sure there was a piece that all the audience could take part in. When we were wondering what we could use to represent the Antarctica, Roanna and Malcolm leapt up and demonstrated the ‘Consider the Penguin Song’ with all the actions and the words. Immediately it seemed like the obvious choice!

As well as having a lot of fun in the meeting I was fascinated to see how much thought has to go into planning a performance. Cath’s and Holly’s passion for the concert is so apparent that I really can’t wait to see our ideas in action -- especially when Owen and Olly come on stage wearing ballet tutus for the Sugar Plum Fairy."

You can catch Melody Quest at 11:30am and 2pm on Saturday 14 October in the New Auditorium, Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. Recommended for age 4+

Announcing our new Season!

Roll up, roll up! It’s time to reveal the dazzling delights in store in our new Season. Over the next year, we’ll take you to a certain school of witchcraft and wizardry, invite you to build a snowman, and introduce you to Peter and his wolf. Are you ready?


The CCC Express is blowing its whistle! Climb aboard  to ride with us through witches’ lairs, past dancing skeletons mountain gnomes, and a visit to a very magical Firebird…

But wait - we need your help! A mischievous ghost has been raiding the Royal Scottish National Orchestra’s instrument locker, and made off with their prize trumpet. Owen and Olly reckon if they can work out his name, they can bust this ghost – choo-choo over to our Facebook page next week  and let us know what you think our spooky spectre is called. The best entry wins an afternoon tea for the whole family at La Bonne Auberge, followed by tickets to the concert, on us!

Better still, come along in your most creative creepy costume on the day, to bag yourself a no-holds-barred trolley dash around the A1 Toys emporium!  We’ll be judging in the foyer ahead of the concert, where you can also have your photo taken at the controls of our looming locomotive.


Gathering together as a family to watch your favourite festive films, safe from the sleet and snow, with a big box of Christmas chocs: it’s one of the highlights of your holiday –  and of Owen & Olly’s too! They’ve put together their ultimate seasonal soundtrack, taken from the silver screen – with help from some very special VIPs.

The Manor School of Ballet take inspiration from a pair of Frozen sisters, our Buddy is taking a break from the Elf workshop, and the ultimate Christmas celebrity will be dropping by… If you’re feeling a bit Nightmare before Xmas, and you just need to Let It Go, then this movie spectacular will restore your seasonal spirit! Just make sure you join us before the concert to take your very own #sELFie - we’re quite proud of that one…

(Psst! Paisley fans can also catch a sneak preview of Owen & Olly at the big Christmas lights switch on this November. Dates and details to follow!)


Melody Quest
If you just can’t wait till Halloween, you can also catch us at Big Music for Minis, taking over the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on Sat 14 October. We’ve banded together with NYOS  to form a mega musical crew, and invite you to join us onboard the good ship Camerata, for a nautical voyage of melodic mystery. Help us uncover the clues and collect songs from around the world – just watch out for a fin in the water…

And we’re roaming further afield in the Spring…


Gypsy Jazz – we’re heading to The Barn in Banchory, and the Eastgate Theatre in Peebles , for the latest in a long line of collaborations with small (but powerful) ensembles, that will delight kids, both little and large. Seonaid Aitken (winner of Best Vocalist at the 2017 Scottish Jazz Awards) and her band Rose Room will take us on a whirl through the finger-clicking, toe-tapping world of jazz – join us for a pre-concert workshop to discover what your unique groove sounds like.

Peter & the Wolf - The Essential Orchestra bring you Prokofiev’s story of one brave boy and his animal friends – and enemies! Visiting Stirling and Perth, our handpicked group of musicians pack all the power of the orchestra, but direct to your local venue. If you enjoyed their sell-out presentation of Dahl’s Three Little Pigs, you’ll love this – our musicians will present a re-enactment of the famous story of ducks, and felines and wolves, oh my!  

(There’ll also be a chance to catch this year’s Essential Orchestra show, Tartan Tales, when Nessie returns to Dundee!)

Plus, keep an eye out for our new programme, aimed at those members of your family who have grown up with CCC… but have outgrown our traditional concerts. Contemporary, challenging and a little cryptic (for now), we’re excited to be pushing the boundaries of music, and audience interaction. Stay tuned…

CCC comes to Edinburgh Fringe (special preview prices available)


Imagine you're a young, hungry rabbit, who's just stumbled across an unattended field of fresh, green lettuces... Well that's how excited we are to be presenting our first ever Fringe show

After 23 years of delighting families across Scotland with our antic-packed introductions to live classical music, we’re pitching our tent (quite literally) at the biggest arts festival in the world, to bring you The Tales of Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle Duck

Helen Beatrix Potter (known as Beatrix), was a keen artist, and spent many hours making intricate sketches of animals and plants, revealing a keen eye and fascination for the natural world that would continue throughout her life. Two of Beatrix’s earliest muses were her beloved pet rabbits - her first, Benjamin Bouncer, enjoyed buttered toast and joined the Potter family on holiday in Scotland, where he went for walks on a lead. Benjamin’s successor was Peter Piper, who had a talent for performing tricks, and accompanied his mistress everywhere. Today, more than two million Beatrix Potter books are sold across the world every year – roughly four books a minute!

We’ve teamed up with producer Jimmy Jewell, to bring two of the most popular stories to the Underbelly Circus Hub, this August. Jimmy is a performer, conductor and composer, whose music and productions have appeared on some of the most iconic stages in the world, being made an Associate of the Royal Academy of Music in 2015 for his “outstanding contribution to the UK music industry”. He’s using his expertise to combine Stephen McNeff’s score, the talents of award-winning soprano Michelle Todd, and our hand-picked, brand new, CCC Festival Ensemble – into a not-to-be-missed hour of fun, storytelling and music that will leave your little ones quackin’ for more. 

Keep an eye on our Facebook page for more behind-the-scenes information on how we’re bringing these timeless characters to life in Edinburgh - but you can snag tickets already (including bargain rates on the preview dates!). Get hopping!

Peter & Jemima images © Frederick Warne & Co

Perfect for Perth

Ever since our Essential Orchestra delighted Perth with Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs last year, we've been keen to get back to the Fair City - and the Perthshire Advertiser seems to share our enthusiasm. Their feature article on the Perth Festival of the Arts put us front and centre...


A passion for inspiring!

Our General Manager, Pippa, turned what she loved into her job. Originally from Aberdeen, the Press & Journal grilled her for all the info a young music lover would need to follow in her footsteps! 



Introducing Tartan Tales!


Once upon a time a pair of roving percussionists, brave and true, were driving through the Scottish countryside, enjoying the fair hills, and the warm sun*. “Olly”, said Owen, for those were indeed the lads’ names, “That was a braw concert, filled with many a lively tune, and a roaring crowd. But what shall we turn our drumming sticks to next?” Just then, they passed the shores of the bonny Loch Ness, and Olly exclaimed aloud: “Why, what could be better? Our next concert should be inspired by the myths and monsters of Scotland!” And they became so excited at the thought, singing out their favourite Scottish songs, that they failed to notice the mysterious head rising from the waters of the loch… 

Ok, so maybe that’s not completely true…  but we can confirm that our Essential Orchestra is back: with a brand new show, taking you on a musical journey through the swirling mists of Scotland’s fantastical fables – we give you, Tartan Tales! Scotland’s a country of wild places, home to mysterious creatures, and fearsome warriors; there’s a whole history of amazing stories and landscapes to choose from, and we’ve put together a concert that pulls together a few of our favourites - from the dramatic, through the scary, to the downright silly. Navigate the stormy waters of Fingal’s Cave, triumph over the mighty Misterstourworm, and cheer on the sure-footed horse of Tam O’Shanter. And well, because it’s us, there’ll be a few surprises along the way…  all climaxing in an original medley created for Tartan Tales (arranged by Paul Campbell), featuring music from beloved Scottish family films! 

We’re also inviting the brave hearts in our audience to choose their own clan, from amongst the orchestra. There’s always been some friendly rivalry between instrumental sections and now they’re on the look-out for new recruits: will you band with the strong #clanstrings, pledge your loyalty to the wily #clanwind, or fight for the bold #clanbrass? Decide during the concert, and then join the musicians after the show, for a chance to try playing your favourite instrument. 

We'll be stopping in Perth (part of the rather fabulous Perth Festival of the Arts) and Stirling (Macrobert Arts Centre) - catch you there! 

Now you’ll have to excuse us – we’ve just had a call from a rather frantic Owen & Olly, something about a giant flipper…

*Well, this *is* a fairytale

What's the time, Mr Wolf?

It's payback time! The Big Bad Wolf is back on the prowl, and our Three Little Pigs have begun to howl! Who can save them, our force for good? Could it be that little Red Riding Hood....

After a sell-out show in 2016, our 18-piece mini-orchestra is taking Roald Dahl's Three Little Pigs to Dundee's Caird Hall. Adapted* from the beloved author's Revolting Rhymes, our live-action, live music staging of the dramatic showdown between wolf, pig and hooded heroine has a twist in the tale!

It's not just a musical comment on the literal instability of the housing market, however: led by our dynamic duo, Owen & Olly, you'll learn about the Big Friendly Giants and Witches of the instrument world, take part in our audience dance-along, and have the chance to meet our musicians after the concert - we promise the wolf won't bite!

See the highlights from our production at the Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling last year, in the video below.

*By composer Paul Patterson, who turns 70 this year!

CCC's Top Picks for Festive Family Fun!

It’s Christmas! The kids are high on a seemingly endless supply of sugar! You need entertainment, and you need it fast! Fortunately, the CCC Team are here, with their recommendations on the best in family activities over Christmas time.

In Edinburgh, the National Museums are taking part in Edinburgh’s Christmas with Sprogmanay, a 3 day mini-festival of crafts, storytelling, music and dancing – including a special lantern procession, and a Hogmanay treasure trail. Pre the big day, there’s Too Many Penguins? by children’s theatre specialists Frozen Charlotte, on at the Festival Theatre till Christmas Eve (they also have a book of it, too) whilst Santa can still be visited at the Royal Botanic Gardens.

On the Glasgow front, the big attraction is the Irn-Bru Carnival at the SECC, filled with rides, activities and amusements till 15 Jan, whilst in the New Year, comedian Lee Kyle takes over The Stand Comedy Club with a show for kids entitled ‘What Do I Do Now?’. The Grosvenor are having a live sing-along of Frozen on the morning of Christmas Eve, whilst slightly further afield Fullarton Fairy Tail is free and open till 5th January.

Little and big screen wise, there’s rich pickings as ever. We’re particularly looking forward to the release of A Monster Calls, starring Edinburgh lad Lewis MacDougall and the voice of Liam Neeson, from Patrick Ness’ book of the same name. Olivia Colman heads up a stellar cast for the animated version of We’re Going On A Bear Hunt, premiering on Channel 4 on Christmas Eve whilst Tom Hardy (yes, *that* Tom Hardy) reads the CBeebies New Year story this year. Don’t say we’re not good to you.

And last, but not least, a special mention for Social Bite and ITISON, who have teamed up again to offer you the chance to buy a Christmas meal for a homeless person, for just £5. They’ve made a huge difference since they started in 2014, and we hope they can build on that success for many years to come. Merry Christmas all!

CCC's Best of the Fest(s)

You may have heard, there’s a wee festival happening…? No matter where you’re based, it’s hard to avoid the slew of stars and exclamation marks coming out of Edinburgh this time of year… and lucky as we are to have such a huge number of shows, attempting to sift through the offerings can leave the most experienced cultural consumer reeling in confusion.

So, we did it for you. Here’s the CCC’s Team’s top tips across all the festivals!

Elgar’s The Apostles (Edinburgh International Festival)
Usher Hall

Sunday 14 August - 3.00 PM
Let’s start with the heavy hitters, front and centre. Choral conductor superstar Edward Gardner directs CCC partners the Royal Scottish National Orchestra and the NYCoS National Girls Choir of Scotland (amongst others) in Elgar’s mammoth, mystical masterpiece. Prepare to be blown away.

Tamas Fejes

Bach for Solo Violin (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

Canongate Kirk

Sunday 21 August - 2:00 PM
Something from the other (but by no means lesser) end of the spectrum (although still strictly grown-up fare, the family recommendations are below!): Tamas Fejes performs a selection of Sonatas and Partitas by JS Bach. We were fortunate enough to work with Tamas recently, and as well as being hugely talented, he’s also, as CCC team member Jemma put it, “a lovely guy, [and has] a great rapport with audiences”.

The Armed Man: A Mass for Peace (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

St. Giles’ Cathedral

Saturday 13 August - 7:30 PM
Before taking to the stage on Sunday, you can also catch NYCoS performing in one of Edinburgh’s most beautiful venues. A timely piece, Karl Jenkins’ large-scale, anti-war piece is based on texts drawn from a diverse array of cultural and religious sources, and the world’s most performed work by a living composer.

In the Mood (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)


11 – 13 August - Various times
15 piece Yorkshire band Sundown Swing are back to Fly us to the Moon with their toe-tapping, finger-snapping mix of vocals and instrumentals. Covering faves from Glen Miller to Robbie Williams, you don’t have to be a Big Spender to enjoy this bunch. (Sorry. We couldn't resist.) And if swing’s your thing, check out our upcoming Christmas Swingalong, this December…

Okay, enough with the grown-up stuff, here’s where we recommend you spend your family pound this August!

Roald Dahl

We’ve been a little bit doo-lally for Dahl this year, and the festivals have also got on board with 100th celebrations. The Edinburgh International Book Festival offer Roald Dahl’s Glorimptous Gobblefunk (Fri 19 Aug, families and 7+), as well as an entire day of Dahl themed “crafts, colouring-in, face painting and more” next Tues 16. At the Fringe, The Hogwallops (11-14, 16-22) present circus inspired by The Twits, whilst puppetry and folk music combine in the classic James and the Giant Peach (11-21, 23-27 Aug).


Pleasance Kids @ EICC (Edinburgh Festival Fringe)

11-16, 19-23, 25-28 August - Various times
“This is just plain lovely. Funny and enchanting.” So sayeth CCC Team member Erin, who returned for repeated viewings. Created specifically for the teeny tiny ones (0 – 24 months), this is classical music in a relaxed and playful atmosphere, with a cheeky, loveable raccoon running the show. A treat for the eyes, ears and heart – and patrons can stick around to keep playing post-event. 

Comedy Club 4 Kids

Assembly Roxy

11-28 August - 5:35 PM
It’s hard to explain how this one manages to make it work, but it’s been doing so for over 10 years. A daily changing line-up of comics from across the Fringe means it’s always fresh, and the kids are included in ways that encourage them to be the star. Comedy that’s focused on the children, but never fails to entertain the adults, too.

Hup Trailer from Starcatchers on Vimeo.

Project Dazzle
(Edinburgh Art Festival)

Dazzle Hub

11 & 18 August - 2:00 – 4:00 PM
Art ain’t just for grown-ups, and the Edinburgh Art Festival know it. Ciara Phillips’ ‘Dazzle’ ships are the highlight of this year’s offerings, and a family friendly programme has been scheduled alongside. There’s tours of the ship itself, after which all can get crafty in workshops (5-12) creating dazzle t-shirts and sculptures, or enjoy free play (for the under 5s) inspired by the themes involved. Good on you, EAF!

One more, because we just had to include….

CeilidhKids at the Fringe (Edinburgh Fringe Festival)

Laughing Horse @ The Free Sisters

11-17, 19-22, 24, 26-28 August - Times vary
Does what it says on the tin. A good old knees up, for all abilities, ages, and family members. One of our team members took her newly born and told us said daughter “rated the experience 5/5, would ceilidh with a baby again.”

And, finally, a couple of shows that we’ve included for the die-hards: they were sold out within minutes, but returns queues have a good success rate for those in the front. Two worth waiting for are:

GRIT (Edinburgh International Festival)

Edinburgh Playhouse

Tuesday 23 August - 8:00 PM
Winner of the Scots Trad Award for Event of the Year in 2015, this is a reimagining of GRIT, Martyn Bennet’s final album, fusing traditional Scottish tunes and hard techno. As CCC team member Cath put it: “This will be incredible.”

Julia Donaldson & Friends (Edinburgh International Book Festival)

Charlotte Square

Saturday 13 August - 10:00 AM
Eternal favourite (of ours, and everyone else, it seems) Julia Donaldson is hosting a hootenanny with an array of guests from her books, including What The Detective Saw, The Gruffalo and new offering, The Detective Dog. We have a person on the inside, who says this one is not to be missed….

Did we get it right? What are, or have been, your top hits from this year’s crop? Let us know, and we’ll pass the recommendations on. Happy Festivalling!