Sistema Scotland is now eight years old and our mission is unaltered: to transform lives and communities through music. 2015/16 was a year of consolidation, being our first full year operating three Big Noise orchestra programmes. During the year, we worked with almost 1,700 children across our Big Noise centres in Raploch, Stirling; Govanhill, Glasgow; and Torry, Aberdeen. Highlights of the year include: renewed endorsement by the Scottish Government; Big Noise Govanhill's first side-by-side concert with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra; and Big Noise Raploch's Symphony Orchestra trip to Italy.
During 2014/15, we launched our third Big Noise centre in Torry, Aberdeen. As a result, we are now working with around 1,500 children in total every week. In May we welcomed the publication of an Initial Findings Report from the long-term evaluation of Big Noise being led independently by Glasgow Centre for Population Health. The report provides exciting evidence that our approach is working and delivering the results we set out to achieve.
2013/14 has been another exciting year for Sistema Scotland with two Big Noise centres up and running for the first time. We now engage with over 1,100 children across Big Noise Raploch in Stirling and Big Noise Govanhill in Glasgow and are well advanced in preparations for the opening of our third centre, Big Noise Torry in Aberdeen, in spring 2015.
2012/13 was a landmark year for Sistema Scotland, with further consolidation of the Big Noise programme in Raploch, Stirling and the launch of our second centre in Govanhill, Glasgow. This year also heralded the introduction of a four year investment by the Scottish Government into the work of Sistema Scotland and a commitment from Stirling Council to support Big Noise Raploch over the next five years. Grant funding from the Scottish Government departments Children and Young People, Culture and External Affairs, Education and Lifelong Learning, and Health and Social Care recognises the cross-cutting nature of the outcomes that Sistema Scotland aims to deliver. These public grants mean that the work of Sistema Scotland is currently half funded by the public sector and half from private trusts, foundations and individuals.
The success of Big Noise Raploch’s fourth year may be encapsulated in the extraordinary sights and sounds of 21 June 2012, when the Big Noise Raploch Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of our Patron, Gustavo Dudamel, officially launched the London 2012 Festival at The Big Concert. The visit by the Simón Bolívar Symphony Orchestra to Raploch was undoubtedly the highlight of a very exciting year and the Big Concert is the subject of a separate report (please let us know if you would like a copy). This document will therefore reflect mostly on other developments which have happened here in Raploch and which we think are equally worth making a Big Noise about!
Looking back over the first three years of its existence, this programme has come a long way and we are proud that it is now an integrated part of life in Raploch. Of the 3,000 people who constitute the community of Raploch, 460 children are now active participants in a programme which has at its heart the desire to effect generational change and transform lives with music. Year 3 of Big Noise Raploch saw some substantial and exciting developments and this report provides a snapshot of the year: the highs and some of the challenges we have faced as we encourage the children to deepen their engagement in the programme and their commitment to work hard and celebrate the increased confidence and pride in the community which is becoming evident. A Deaconess from the local church recently remarked that those in Raploch appear to walk with their heads that bit higher these days. We have well and truly set off on our journey but, in comparison to the Venezuelans, we still have far to go!
The Sistema Scotland pilot programme in Raploch has concluded its second year with over 240 children involved or 80% of the eligible age group (Nursery to Primary 5). In the last year a ‘typical’ child working with us has experienced 7 hours per week at after school club including an individual/paired lesson, up to 20 hours a week during holidays, attended up to 6 concerts, performed about 6 times, had a “musician home for tea” up to 3 times and heard musicians play in their school every week. Due to popular demand we started a parent orchestra ‘The Noise’ which meets once a week; and also have a volunteering programme including helpers from the local community and further afield.
From the launch of Big Noise Raploch in 2008, the first summer school and working with Nursery and P1 children during school, and inviting P2, P3 and P4 children to After School Club. Also the introduction of TAMHFT (Take A Musician Home For Tea).