More than 50 children from Big Noise Douglas impressed at their first ever Christmas concert, held at Claypotts Castle Primary School on Thursday 13th December. The concert included joyful musical renditions and festive favourites, as well as a celebration of the recently published comic created by Dundee Comics Creative Space (DCCS) about the hopes and aspirations of the Douglas community for Big Noise Douglas.
The concert saw performances from primary 4 pupils of St Pius and Claypotts Castle Primary Schools. The children, all of whom attend the Big Noise Douglas After School Club, have spent recent months working to master their concert pieces on violins, violas, cellos and double basses. Their dedication paid off as the children of Big Noise Douglas delighted a captivated audience of friends, family and community members.
In addition to the musical performances, the concert offered an opportunity to share and reflect on findings of a recent consultation about the hopes and aspirations for the Big Noise Douglas programme. Many in the audience had previously participated in comic and music workshops for this consultation, organised by researchers from Dundee Comics Creative Space based at the University of Dundee. Findings from the workshops highlighted the hope of community transformation and increased opportunities for the young people in Douglas involved in the Big Noise Douglas programme. The findings of the study had been made available in a creative comic format, and the Christmas concert was a chance for community members to discuss and feedback about this novel way of reporting the consultation.
(Photo credit: Alan Richardson)
Big Noise Douglas works with more than 450 children on a weekly basis, from babies to P4. The programme provides free, immersive, instrumental music tuition, as well as an orchestra programme, to pupils both in school and after school. Big Noise equips children with a wide range of social and life skills including confidence, resilience and aspiration.
Andy Thorn, Team Leader at Big Noise Douglas said: "With Big Noise Douglas having only launched in September last year, and our After School Club starting in May of this year, the children have achieved a huge amount in a very short space of time. Today's concert was the perfect way for the children to share and celebrate all of this with their family, friends and community.
We are extremely grateful to all of our wonderful partners and funders of Big Noise Douglas. It is only with their support that we are able to continue to work with more than 450 children on a weekly basis."
Councillor John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council, said: "Dundee City Council are delighted to be playing an important role in bringing this vital programme to the community of Douglas. The work of Big Noise Douglas and Sistema Scotland exemplifies some of the best aspects not only of Dundee's contemporary cultural focus on all areas of the arts, but also the city's commitment to the Year of Young People. This Christmas concert, performed by the wonderful children of Douglas, helps to mark a truly fitting end to this great year."
Chris Van der Kuyl, Chair of Optimistic Sound (a key funding partner of Big Noise Douglas) said: "Optimistic Sound are absolutely delighted to support the wonderful work of Big Noise Douglas and to see the programme performing so well. The local community has really embraced Big Noise Douglas and today's event shows the great difference that's already been made. It's fantastic to see the children participate in their first Christmas concert, enthusiastic and confident in their musical skills."
Audrey May, Head of Service (Chief Education Officer) at Dundee City Council said: "This has been a wonderful first Christmas concert for Big Noise Douglas. A huge well done to all the children who took part, they all played absolutely wonderfully. It's hard to believe that the programme has been up and running for only 15 months. Big Noise is having a truly transformative impact on the Douglas community and Dundee City Council are very proud to be an ongoing supporter of the programme. I'm already looking forward to their next concert!"
Big Noise Douglas is delivered by Sistema Scotland in partnership with Optimistic Sound and Dundee City Council with the support of Strategic Partner Gannochy Trust and a range of other trusts, foundations, and individuals including players of People's Postcode Lottery. Sistema Scotland receives funding from the Scottish Government, and other public and private investors and donors.
Sistema Scotland, the charity which runs the Big Noise programmes, was launched in Raploch, Stirling in 2008 with thirty five children. Now more than 2,500 children take part in the programme every week at its centres in Raploch, Stirling; Govanhill, Glasgow; Torry, Aberdeen; and Douglas, Dundee.
Independent research by the Glasgow Centre for Population Health has consistently found that Big Noise has a wide range of positive impacts on children's lives. These include engagement with education, developing life skills, securing emotional wellbeing, building social skills, encouraging healthy behaviours and offering respite and protection for some of Scotland's most vulnerable children.