Children’s Classic Concerts

A look at what's to come from CCC in 2018...

Happy New Year! We hope you had a lovely stress-free Christmas and you’re looking forward to a busy 12 months ahead. We’re certainly glad to be back at CCC HQ (despite how chilly it is in here!) and can’t wait to get started on some new and exciting projects for 2018!

First up, we’ll be visiting Additional Support Needs schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow (starting later this month) to provide creative composition workshops in partnership with Drake Music Scotland (DMS).  These sessions have been designed for P7s who are about to move between primary and secondary education, making use of inclusive music technology and classroom instruments.  Changing schools is a major life event, and can be a pretty scary one at that, so in delivering this project, we want to make sure we’re doing as much as we can to support this important transition. Thursa Sanderson OBE, Chief Executive of DMS has remarked that “the transition from primary to secondary school can not only be made more manageable, but can also be celebrated as a positive experience if young people have the chance to express their emotions and ideas through music”, which sums up our aim perfectly! CCC presenters Owen and Olly will visit each participating school with a mini concert later in the Spring and will invite pupils to showcase their new music. We’ll be working with these pupils again in September, once the move has been made to their new secondary school, building towards an incredible opportunity to perform at our Halloween concerts with the RSNO behind them, kicking off our 2018-19 season. For those unable to perform live, their contributions will be filmed/pre-recorded and projected onto a screen above the orchestra, so that they’re as much a part of the performance. Watch this space for updates!


Next on the list is ‘Gypsy Jazz’ – our brand new swingin’ chamber concert that starts in Govanhill, Glasgow on Friday 23rd February and tours to Peebles (Saturday 24th February) and Banchory (Sunday 25th February). CCC host Owen Gunnell is teaming up with award-winning Scottish songstress and fiddler, Seonaid Aitken (winner of Best Vocalist at the 2017 Scottish Jazz Awards) - and her band Rose Room, for an interactive and inspiring introduction to jazz that will have the whole family literally dancing in the aisles! They’ll be showing off sensational solos and transporting audiences around the world, performing high-energy numbers from France to Russia, so why not join us? Clap, sing, get in the groove and experience tap dancing like never before…

To register your interest in the Govanhill performance, please contact us with your name, address and email. 


In March, we’re taking our popular Tartan Tales concert to the Caird Hall in Dundee - the clans of our mighty mini-orchestra are set to take the audience on a musical journey, through the swirling mists of Scottish myths and legends!


Then in May, we take on Prokofiev’s much-loved musical story, Peter and the Wolf in Perth and Stirling. It serves as a fantastic introduction to the instruments of the orchestra, as each character is represented by its own instrument with a fitting theme to match.  Peter is brought to life by the string section, his grandfather by the bassoon, the bird by a flute, the duck by an oboe, the cat by a clarinet, the wolf by three horns and the shooting of the hunters by the timpani. Our musicians can’t wait for this one! Keep an eye out on our website for tickets going on sale in Perth (the performance is part of Perth Festival of the Arts)!


By the time Summer rolls around, we’ll be gearing up for our major ‘Sound Cycle’ project as part of Festival 2018 (which will see a buzz of cultural activity across Glasgow, running alongside the European Championships). We’re absolutely thrilled to be one of 34 arts organisations involved and equally excited to be working with Scottish born talent, composer Tom Harrold. It was on the BBC Proms Extra programme back in 2016, that CCC staff spotted Tom being interviewed and speaking about how CCC first sparked his love of music.  Since then, he told us that “a Children’s Classic Concerts performance can be counted as amongst my earliest musical experiences. I remember vividly going to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall as a youngster and being amazed, bamboozled, and enthralled by the CCC show - it was such a fantastic way of getting a young person involved and interested in music. I can truly say that CCC gave me the bug for music, without which I would not be the composer that I am today…[I’m a] Glasgow-born composer, and this project will engage with many people from different walks of life from my home city, which I feel [will] be extremely special, rewarding, and worthwhile”.  Sound Cycle will fuse music and cycling in highly-imaginative ways including a cutting-edge contemporary  composition by Tom, using bike sounds created by all-age community participants (from the likes of Play on Pedals) and our activity will culminate with two high-profile sport-themed concerts, featuring internationally acclaimed percussionist, Colin Currie,  at The Old Fruitmarket in August. 


So, we’ve got lots to do, better get cracking! We’ll keep you updated as plans develop – in the meantime, make sure you’re signed up to our mailing list for the latest news - just click here

The winner of our A1 Toys Costume Competition revealed!

*Drum roll please*...Huge CONGRATULATIONS to Daniel Rea (7), the winner of the A1 Toys costume competition 2017!

Daniel came to the Glasgow Ghost Train concert as Lord Garmadon from The LEGO Ninjago Movie! This home-made cardboard creation seriously wowed our expert judges - Danielle Durieu from the costume department at Scottish Opera and Karen McGrady-Parker, Associate director at Scottish Youth Theatre.  They were particularly impressed by the hand-painted details!

Well done for all of your hard work! We're really looking forward to watching you claim your trolley dash star prize in the new year! Huge thanks once again to A1 Toys for making this possible! 


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!