The Lochranza Summer Concert

Contributed by Alice Maxwell

Lochranza church hosted its hugely popular annual summer concert on 22nd August. The church was packed with locals and visitors who were treated to a varied evening of entertainment by resident and guest performers.

The evening began with the rousing hymn Guide Me O Thy Great Jehovah, accompanied by Arco, Arran’s string orchestra, under the competent baton of Alice Maxwell. Arco was thrilled to have two professional violinists joining their ranks – Angus Anderson and Angus Ramsay, who both spent many years playing with Scottish Opera. Arco began with their old favourite the Eine Kleine Nacht music, this time including the final Presto, which they played at break neck speed.

They then tackled Karl Jenkin’s piece Palladio (1995). The title refers to the architect Andrea Palladio (1508- 1580), whose plan of La Rotonda inspired this composition with its harmonious proportions. The two solo parts were played by teenagers Rhodri and Cerys Herapath, Arco’s youngest members.
The second half had a Scottish theme beginning with Arco’s performance of Peter Maxwell Davies’ Farewell to Stromness. This was written as a protest against a proposed uranium mine in Stromness, which thankfully never happened.

The audience was also entertained by minister Angus Adamson and his son Robbie on the Scottish small pipes. Perfectly suited to indoor playing, these pipes have a beautiful mellow and precise tone quality and are a cousin of the Northumbrian pipes. They played foot stomping reels along with haunting gaelic melodies.

The two Anguses dazzled the audience with their virtuosic rendering of a duet by the French composer Leclair, followed by the ever popular Meditation from Thais by Jules Massenet. This was originally written for solo violin and symphony orchestra, but here we heard an unusual arrangement for violin duet.

No Lochranza concert would be complete without the dulcet tones of tenor Peter Alexanda Wilson. Peter is a vocal teacher at the RNCM in Manchester and runs a summer school here on Arran, culminating in the Gala night (6th Sep) and performance of Handel’s Messiah (8th Sep) both in Lamlash. He sang several unaccompanied songs including Westering Home.

Following the Scottish ceilidh tradition, the evening also included poetry, recited by Fiona Henderson, member of the Shiskine SWI drama group. The two comic poems – Albert and the lion, and David and Goliath – had the audience in stitches.

The concert was free but donations to the upkeep of Lochranza church totalled £830. There was delicious home baking in the interval and special thanks go to Archie Cummings and Bill Scott for the organisation of this concert.