Children’s Classic Concerts

Take a look back at our new orchestra in action!

Catch our latest concert, The Three Little Pigs on camera! With thanks to Scott MacKenzie Films HD!

'Tails' of pigs 'squealing' the show in Perth - check out this review!

The young audience for the

Children’s Classic Concert on

Saturday strained to see who

- or rather what - was heading

for the stage ... writes Melanie

Bonn (Perthshire Advertiser, 27th May 2016)

For this celebration of Roald Dahl’s

100th birthday the orchestra bounced

into view, dressed in costumes ranging

from a crocodile to an Oompa Loompa.

A cello was in the hands of a grinning

ladybird and we even had a portly tuba

player dressed as Miss Trunchball

from Matilda.

The concert’s presenter Olly Cox

came as Willie Wonka and his partner

in music, Owen Gunnell sported a comic beard, announcing he’d come as

one of The Twits. Clearly this was going

to be a bit of fun.

Tiny people don’t generally behave

if you try to take them anywhere

near a classical performance, but

the enthusiastic team had bashful

dads on their feet doing disco moves

to Shostakovich and toddlers riding

in their seats cowboy-style to the

terrifically lively William Tell Overture.

A big chunk for the show focused on the drama of the Three Little Pigs taken

from Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes.

The brass section of the mini

orchestra gamely donned animal

heads and raced among the delighted

audience while the tale was given a

suitable backdrop with music by Paul


The Concert Hall had the

atmosphere of the Christmas Panto

with plenty of boos for the cunning fox.

Sandwiched around the piggy action were some well-chosen snippets

designed to keep the wee ones from

scribbling on their programmes.

The Musiques des Automates from

Coppélia, the Dance of the Sugar Plum

Fairy from the Nutcracker, Mozart’s

Horn Concerto No 4 and Dance

Macabre by Saint-Saëns were all a hit.

Professional musicians Olly and

Owen have just the right touch

for sharing classical music with

children, providing simple, amusing

explanations for each piece. The pair of

madcap percussionists have appeared

in Perthshire several times before and

they clearly loved seeing the response

the concert got at this year’s PerthFestival of the Arts.

Behind Closed Doors – What really happens at a CCC rehearsal…

This blog post is brought to you by our newest recruit, Erin, who has kindly offered to share her first impressions of what goes on before a CCC gig.

“The animal I really dig, above all others, is the pig…”

“Ah ha!” I thought “Found them!” A little lost in the backstage areas of the RSNO Centre, the opening refrain of Roald Dahl’s porcine themed Revolting Rhyme saved my bacon. A booming delivery of lines by artistic director Olly had led me to my destination: the rehearsal for the Children’s Classic Concerts’ performance of The Three Little Pigs.

A newcomer to the CCC team (I’ll be starting properly in July, as the Digital Communications Officer) and to their concerts, I wasn’t entirely sure what I’d find on the other side of the door. Some things were expected; my CCC colleagues would be there, as well as artistic directors Owen and Olly, and CCC’s mini 18-piece orchestra (recently formed, featuring long-standing professional musicians, well versed in the classical scene, together with students and recent graduates). But…how did the rhymes and the music interact? What physical role did the crafty characters Olly was describing play in the proceedings? And, most importantly, would I actually get to see Red Riding Hood whip her pistol from her knickers?

Over the next few hours, I witnessed an impressive display from both musicians and the staff, as they worked hard to bring together music and theatrics into a polished, entertaining whole.

The orchestra, already clearly well practiced at the score, worked with the CCC artistic directors to finesse the marriage of words and music, playing with timing and volume. Dahl’s poetry seems to naturally invoke silliness, and was only amped up by Olly’s character accents, as he thoroughly reveled in his dramatic role.

The giggles grew to full-blown laughter in the adjoining room, however, where the three little pigs, the big bad wolf and Ms. Hood were running through their paces, led by theatre director Lissa Lorenzo. To my surprise, I realized our actors were also drawn from the orchestra, namely the brass section, not needed for the Three Little Pigs section of the show. “Here, try this fur coat on for size” said Lissa to Matthew, “I reckon you’ll make a great big bad wolf”, whilst handing out beautifully constructed pig’s head to Arlene and Al.

The trio threw themselves in to their roles with gusto, being incredible sports as they were instructed to strut, run, cower and roar around the stage; CCC Company Manager Pippa also found herself roped in as the one Pig who believed in the power of masonry as a protective material. They may not have known what they were letting themselves in for when they volunteered, but the connection forged by playing music together made them a great team when playing roles together. The only possible hiccup coming when Al was presented with the polka dot drawers he had to wear as the infamous Red Riding Hood: “I’m just not sure they’re my colour…”

An enormous amount was achieved in a brief afternoon, the musical and dramatic parts of the concert falling into place separately, before neatly fitting together; one could see how the final performance would appear, and the sense of excitement in the room was palpable. I began to realize how many different elements – music, costumes, theatrics, audience interaction, a huge dose of enthusiasm and silliness – go into making CCC’s concerts, and how that energy draws in both children and adults alike. Not being able to make the Stirling concert, I’m finally going to be able to experience it fully this Saturday, at the Perth Concert Hall, part of this year’s Perth Festival of the Arts. I can’t wait.

Three Little Pigs - The Lowdown!

We’re all big Roald Dahl fans at CCC HQ, so we were very excited to see our musicians illustrate their talents and bring fictional fun to life at The Three Little Pigs concert (Macrobert Arts Centre) in Stirling last month! Our mini-orchestra were on a mission to delight families with their Dahl-inspired antics and character costumes - hopefully you’ll agree that they succeeded!

We felt the highlight was Three Little Pigs, Dahl’s Revolting Rhyme, (with brilliant music by Paul Patterson). Olly did a fab job of narrating (his wolf voice was particularly gruff!), Owen made his conducting debut (and played the percussion parts at the same time – how hard can that be, write?) and the acting from our brass players and Company Manager as the pigs, the wolf, and Red Riding Hood was amazing! There was certainly a twist in the tail, but we won’t reveal that here, in case we spoil the surprise for anyone!

The lads were firmly on the same page though, as they took the audience on an astonishing adventure throughout the concert – they got everyone in the party mood right from the beginning with Mambo from West Side Story, before introducing us to the Big Friendly Giants (BFGs) of the orchestra; the contrabassoon, tuba and double bass, in Malcom Arnold’s sprightly Scottish Dance. In contrast, the Minpins (very tiny people!) made an appearance afterwards, as the baby instrument of the orchestra, the piccolo, played a well-known melody from the ballet, Coppélia. Later, the orchestra performed Dance Macabre (Saint-Saëns), showcasing the ‘witch’ of the orchestra, leader Jane Mackenzie, on her spookily de-tuned violin. Next came Tchaikovsky’s Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, inspired by Willy Wonka’s sweet tooth (it was also an excuse for Owen & Olly to wear their tutus, as they like to do)!

The intention behind the concert was to celebrate Roald Dahl’s Centenary year, so there was a rendition of happy birthday, complete with a cake fit for the man himself, as well as a massive party game of musical statues. Owen & Olly demonstrated some proper ‘Dad dancing’ - snapping like the Enormous Crocodile, busting some Oompa Loompa moves as well as Miss Trunchbull’s speciality hammer throw, getting everyone up on their feet!

Topping it all off, we had our newly commissioned classical mash-up, arranged by Paul Campbell, of some of our favourite hits (our beloved William Tell is the finale piece), appropriately named, NOW! That’s What CCC Call Classical Music. It certainly seemed to be a crowd pleaser – we had a cracking bit of feedback from a young audience member telling us that this was his favourite bit…

“It was a very hard choice because all of it was mind-boggling, but I think the most flabbergasting part was the finale, because it really tempted me to dance like an insane baboon (but I didn’t).”

Fingers crossed it all goes down well again in Perth! We’re especially pleased to be part of Perth Festival of the Arts this year. Three Little Pigs will be performed on Saturday 21st May, 11am at Perth Concert Hall and we can’t wait for round two!

We owe a big thank you to:

Creative Scotland
Macrobert Arts Centre
The musicians of the CCC mini-orchestra
Lissa Lorenzo, Theatre Director
Paul Campbell, Arranger
Scott Mackenzie, Videographer
Jassy Earl, Photographer

Grab the chance of winning a Golden VIP ticket for Hallowe'en!

Are you coming along to our Three Little Pigs concert on Sat 21st May in Perth? We'd absolutely love to know what you think, and if you're interested in writing a Roald Dahl-inspired review of the concert, you could grab a Golden VIP ticket for our Hallowe'en extravaganza with the RSNO! There are 5 tickets available (first-come-first-served), for Owen & Olly's Beastly Bash concerts (which also celebrate Roald Dahl's 100th birthday!) on either the 29th October - Glasgow Royal Concert Hall or 30th October - Usher Hall, Edinburgh.

Please find a helpful template here to help you with your review! Please let us know as soon as possible if you want to have a go, or send in your review to after the concert. Good luck :)

Our brand new mini-orchestra are set for a party to celebrate Roald Dahl!

We're so excited to see and hear some amazing musicians come together to form a brand-new orchestra for CCC! Performances will be small-scale (1 player for most instruments) but high-impact, as each member gets involved with the action (and the dressing up - in the first few concerts, see how many of your favourite Roald Dahl characters you can spot on stage)! We can't wait!

Owen & Olly are gearing up to host the premiere performances (i.e. parties) on Sunday 24th April - Macrobert Arts Centre and Saturday 21st May - Perth Concert Hall, celebrating Roald Dahl's 100th birthday year! Amongst their usual antics, they'll be narrating the highlight of the programme, The Three Little Pigs (featured in Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes), with music by Paul Patterson. There'll be plenty of other party pieces too, showcasing some of Dahl's best-loved stories - it'll be a gobstopper of a concert!

After the performances, don’t miss out on the chance to meet the champion musicians and ask questions about how they play their marvellous melodies – book your golden tickets here!

To get you in the mood, here are some of our favourite Roald Dahl Quotes!

We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.”
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (1964)

Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog." Matilda (1988)

A little nonsense now and then, is relished by the wisest men.”
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (1972)

We've won an Arts and Business Scotland Award with our pals at A1 Toys! Yay :)

We were surprised and delighted to win the People category at the Arts and Business Scotland 2015 awards last night which took place at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre. The annual awards celebrate partnerships and projects that work to promote creativity and cultural engagement across Scotland, contributing to creative and economic well-being. To have our small but perfectly formed partnership with A1 Toys recognised in such a strong category means a great deal!

Winning the very first award of the night also added to the shock and excitement!

Gail Burns, Director of A1 Toys said:

We are just a small company, so we are surprised and delighted to win this award, particularly given the quality and high profile of the other short-listed partnerships in our category. This really means a lot to us.”

A1 Toys not only supported our performances with cash and in–kind benefits, allowing us to create spectacular concerts full of costumes, props and visuals to appeal to our young audiences, they also provided a dream prize – a trolley dash in the toy shop! – for the winner of the CCC Halloween costume competition.

Catherine Earnshaw, General Manager of CCC said:

Neither Gail nor I were prepared to find ourselves on stage, holding beautiful trophies being interviewed by the BBC’s Janice Forsyth! It was a shock, but in the nicest possible way. We think the judges must have recognised that this partnership of two small but niche national companies was a perfect fit. We both punch above our weight and are passionate about what we do. Together we were able to bring really entertaining experiences of classical music to both the wider public and our community.”

Watch our reaction (we're first up!) and interviews with other winners here!

The partnership was praised not only for a spectacular concert enjoyed by 2,000 young people and their families with imaginative costumes and jaw-dropping props but also for our community engagement, bringing professional performances of classical music to schools for children with additional support needs. Owen and Olly devised and presented a superhero programme with all the thrills and spills of the CCC concert hall experience designed to be small-scale but high-impact, enabling pupils with moderate learning difficulties and those with multiple, complex needs to participate together in a valuable creative experience.

Other short-listed partnerships in the People Award category were:

Accenture and Scottish Opera

Buchanan Food and Woodend Barn

Malin Marine Consultants Ltd and National Theatre of Scotland

Scottish Power Foundation and Edinburgh International Book Festival

Scottish Power Foundation and National Theatre of Scotland

Shell (UK) Ltd and Modo- Circus with Purpose

Huge thanks to Arts & Business Scotland and congratulations to all the shortlisted partnerships and winners.

Happy New Year!

We're getting in gear for another round of ensemble concerts guaranteed to make you cheer!

Owen & Olly will be back on the road in February with a brand new family offering featuring the nosiest section of the orchestra - you guessed it, the percussion section! They're joining forces with two more of their pals to present some popular classical music as well as top tunes from film, TV and video games, four-man band style! As usual at a CCC gig, the audience will have the chance to get involved (percussion instruments are perfect for participation - no ear plugs required, honest) so come prepared :)

If you want even more musical mayhem, never fear - before each concert, the lovely lads will be on hand to get everyone in the groove with their Instant Samba family workshops - don't miss the chance to play along with them!

Owen & Olly's Four Man Band - Dates for your Diaries:

Sunday 28th February 2016 - Marryat Hall, Dundee

Friday 4th March 2016 - Elgin Academy, Elgin

Saturday 5th March 2016 - Tait Hall, Kelso

Later in the Spring, Owen & Olly have a real treat in store - their exclusive new mini-orchestra will be premiering with a programme influenced by some of Roald Dahl's classic characters, celebrating his centenary year - don't miss out on The Three Little Pigs in Stirling and Perth - two massive 100th birthday parties!!

Sunday 24th April 2016 - Macrobert Arts Centre, Stirling

Saturday 21st May 2016 - Perth Concert Hall

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas and thank you to everyone who celebrated with us at this year's festive concerts! Owen & Olly had a ball as usual, and were delighted to receive this review from Justine Blundell (The Edinburgh Guide) - check it out below:

Owen & Olly’s Christmas Stocking is a cracker of a concert that gives adults the excuse to let their hair down, while pretending it’s all for the kids.

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra are out in force, bedecked in jolly Christmas hats, their music stands adorned with tinsel boas. Behind them, similarly attired, sit members of the National Youth of Scotland Choirs, with representatives from the Falkirk, Edinburgh and Midlothian areas. While the orchestra get into full Christmassy flow with a cheery rendition of Prokofiev’s Troika (Sleigh Ride), Olly and Owen – dressed as Drum Majors - exchange Christmas gifts. Owen’s are amusingly all toy-sized replicas of Olly’s life-sized originals.

Moving swiftly through an atmospheric rendering of Little Drummer Boy, sung by the choir, and a hearty Jingle Bells, accompanied by a fair amount of key-jangling from the audience, we’re into story-time. Olly, dressed in a festive Christmas jumper, sits in a comfy leather armchair to tell the story of Coppélia, read from an oversized book. The story is enacted by talented pupils from the Manor House School of Ballet, who give a beautifully entertaining ten-minute ballet performance.

There’s the now-traditional and somewhat rowdy audience-participation number that is Sam Fonteyn’s Ski Sunday (or Pop Goes Bach for those in the know) and the audience are joyfully on their feet again, after a short interlude from the choir, to bust some moves to Christmas Alphabet.

A highlight is always when our two eponymous heroes do what they do best – namely wheeling out the marimba, xylophone, vibraphone and glockenspiel and let rip with a medley of well-known Christmas tunes. You’ve Got a Friend in Me from Toy Story gives them an excuse to dress as Woody and Buzz Lightyear, and the young ones in the audience are kept very happy when this is followed by the RSNO playing the orchestral suite from Frozen – with lots of wee ones unable to resist prancing about up and down the aisles.

Ending with the rousing Galop from William Tell that has everyone - even the granddads - on their feet and cantering madly, this latest Children’s Classic Concert is a resounding success and sends us all home full of Christmas cheer.

Due to a high number of entries, the winner of the quiz will be announced early in the New Year!

Best wishes from all at CCC!

Meet the winner of the A1 Toys Costume Competition 2015!

Massive congratulations to Elise Atkins (9) who came to the Glasgow Magic and Monsters concert as Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon! This home-made outfit seriously wowed our judges: Gail from A1 Toys, Iona from Say it Ain't Sew and long-time friend of CCC; Elaine. Well done for all of your hard work! We're really looking forward to watching you claim your trolley dash star prize!