Tynecastle project to see kids star on Ross Bandstand

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IT’S the pitchside music project that could give the Gorgie terrace choir a run for their money.

Based deep in the bowels of Tynecastle Stadium, a cutting-edge community scheme has been giving youngsters the chance to pick up an instrument and sing their hearts out under the guidance of professional music tutors.

Nikki Marshall and Fiona Lynch, centre, with  Lauren Whitelaw, Mhairi Whitelaw and Louise Livingstone

Nikki Marshall and Fiona Lynch, centre, with Lauren Whitelaw, Mhairi Whitelaw and Louise Livingstone

Now a clutch of bands established through the Big Hearts Music Trust are taking to the stage at the Ross Bandstand to make their debut public 
performance.

Hundreds of would-be musicians from across the Capital and Midlothian have sampled their first taste of writing, rehearsing and performing since the pioneering scheme was launched two years ago.

Funded by Creative Scotland, the project aims to make music tuition and singing classes accessible to young people, particularly those who may never have held an instrument before.

Classes are available to those aged five to 18, with specific courses for young carer.

Keir MacCulloch, 26, a project co-ordinator, said: “We are doing really well but the thing is because this is a football club it can be strange place to have a music group.

“However, you reach a lot of people who might not have thought about doing music before. And the idea is to provide very accessible music course for all walks of life.”

In keeping with this ethos of accessibility, fees for taking part are nominal.

“We were the first club in Scotland to do something like this,” said Mr MacCulloch. “It stemmed from Alan White, CEO of Hearts Community Trust, who likes music and realised we had this space in the main stand and so we started music classes.

“It’s not compulsory to be a Hearts fan at all and we would encourage everyone to come along – we often have Hibs fans in.

“We also have groups coming in with learning difficulties and behavioural difficulties and they have taken something really positive from it.”

Mr MacCulloch said many youngsters gained confidence from learning a new skill and performing.

Several groups from the project will perform tomorrow in Princes Street Gardens between 1.30pm and 3pm as part of an event called A Scottish Fantasia.

A Hearts spokesman said: “We are delighted that we are able to showcase our work on such a great stage. All the participants have been working really hard and we are incredibly proud of their progress.”