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Renfrewshire school pupils stage concert with RSNO in unique link up

School children from across Renfrewshire took part in a unique link up with Scotland’s National Orchestra to perform at Paisley Town Hall.

The two day RSNO Paisley Takeover ended with a sold out concert on October 24th,  where youngsters performed with the professionals as part of the town’s annual Spree festival.

The free concert featured music by Handel, Bach, Sir Henry Wood, as well as Scottish composer Hamish McCunn.

Guided by the RSNO professionals, around 50 pupils from all 11 Renfrewshire High Schools worked on every aspect of planning and staging the gig.


International-class musicians mentored their younger counterparts, while other pupils worked on marketing, press and PR, as well as on fundraising, learning and engagement and stage and orchestra management.

Audience members received a surprise gift of a party blower under their seats so they could join in the performance at one stage.

The link-up took place as Paisley bids to be named UK City of Culture 2021. The second stage bid was submitted in September, with a decision expected from the Department for Digital, Media, Culture and Sport which organises the competition, in December.

Paisley 2021 Bid Director Jean Cameron, said: “It was incredible to see so many young people who are interested in music or looking to pursue a career in the arts able to get involved in this two day RSNO Paisley Takeover event as part of the Spree festival.

“Pupils from all 11 of Renfrewshire’s High Schools came together to be mentored by professional musicians and stage a concert, as well as do vital work behind the scenes.

“Making it easier for residents – especially young people – to get involved in culture and enjoy the benefits that brings – is one of the key elements for Paisley’s bid to be UK City of Culture 2021.”

RSNO Conductor Holly Mathieson said: “It’s been a tremendous experience for everyone over the past two days. The Takeover participants have worked their socks off to pull the concert together and I’m extremely proud of everyone involved.

“Good luck to Paisley in its bid for City of Culture 2021!"

The Spree festival takes place in partnership with local bar Burger & Keg and Fosters. The festival is also supported by EventScotland, part of VisitScotland's Event Directorate, and the British Council.