Glasgow, a UNESCO City of Music, upped the octaves on Friday when it hosted the first ever Music for Youth Festival in Scotland. Held in Lourdes Secondary School’s performance space in Cardonald – more than 20 schools sent music groups ranging from Irish Folk, to school choirs, from woodwind bands, to steel bands, and from classical guitar to jazz. The non-competitive atmosphere and the acoustically good hall – well mic-ed by Alex Bell – gave each performing group a chance to do their best.
Faculty Head of Performing Arts at Lourdes, Debbie MacVicar, who was the organiser, said: ‘This is a coup! It gives young people the chance to listen to different genres of music, have the opportunity to appreciate them and hear the critiques.’ All done in a day in a friendly, welcoming and non-competitive atmosphere.
A spokeswoman for the Music for Youth organisation said it had been a ‘fantastic’ day. ‘We’ve been holding Festivals like this in England for 24 years but this is the first time in Scotland, thanks to help from Creative Scotland and the work of Debbie MacVicar.’
Two professional musicians listen to each performance and give feedback as mentors. Some of the musicians will be invited to a Scottish regional final in Perth in June along with counterparts from Inverness and Perth Festivals. The UK finale will be in the Royal Albert Hall, London in November.
Said Lourdes Head Teacher Patricia Lennon: ‘This was a stunning day. I went along in the morning intending to stay for the first act and ended staying all morning. It was one of the best mornings I’ve ever experienced in my career. It reinforces how talented our students are and how supportive they can be of each other.’ She was also present most of the afternoon too.
Also attending was Glasgow’s Director of Education, Maureen McKenna who welcomed all the participants on behalf of the city. She said: ‘The performers in this Festival are the stars of the future.’
Among the groups were The Fridays, visually impaired young people from Hazelwood School in Bellahouston who had feet tapping with a strong lead singer in Lauren; a 30-strong choir from Springburn Academy who sang with gusto and Hillhead Jazz Band with more than a dozen singers and musicians all colour co-ordinated in red and black but each with their own dress style though a uniform music style which was well appreciated.
The Fridays’ next appearance will be at Glasgow Grand Central Hotel where a fund-raising ball will be held for the school.
Pollok Park has three new woodland trails to walk. Meandering through the North Woods section of the park, the trails are of different lengths and have many interesting things to see which are well signed along the way.
Colour coded, the routes are: the Yellow, Burrell Walk which is the shortest at 0.7miles. The Blue Pond Walk which is 1.4miles and the Red Highland Cattle Way - 2 miles long taking the walker through most of the woodlands.
Councillor Jim Coleman, Executive Member for Land and Environmental Services, launched the routes on Wednesday 15 June with the help of pupils and staff from Hazelwood school (pictured here)
He said: ‘Pollok Country Park is the largest in Glasgow and provides accessible woodland within the heart of the city, a rare commodity for the UK. It is a key recreational and heritage site and essential to visitors’ outdoor experience.’
He added: ‘Walking is a great form of exercise for all age groups – and one of the simplest. These new trails have been developed for everyone. They offer people an exciting element with the chance to see a haven of wildlife and unique landscape.’
Named best in Europe in 2008, Pollok Country Park attracts over two million visitors a year. It is home to the Burrell Collection, Pollok House, award-winning Highland cattle, breathtaking gardens, and much more.
Ian Watson’s photograph shows (from left) Highland cow Siusan Ruadh with stockman Matt Auld; Anne Stewart, Hazelwood School; Councillor James Coleman, Glasgow City Council; Nicole McLaughlin and Matthew McGhee both Hazelwood School; John Borrill, Hazelwood School; Lindsay Gemmell with Highland calf Siusan Dubh.
Photograph: Ian Watson
A school for children with severe learning difficulties was burnt to cinders in what Police believe was an act of heartless arson on Thursday 29 April.
Hampden Primary in Toryglen burst into flames around 7pm. Luckily, the 37 pupils who attend the school were already finished for the day and there was no one in the school.
Strathclyde Detective Sergeant Jim Leckie, heading the investigation, said: ‘This fire was set during the hours of daylight in a school which was very popular and at the heart of the community.
‘Enquiries have revealed that the fire was started deliberately. I’d like to speak to anyone who has any information that could help trace the person or persons responsible.’
Contact Gorbals CID on 0141 532 5300 or CRIMESTOPPERS on 0800 555 111.
Firefighters tackled the blaze for five hours. Repairs will cost an estimated £500,000. Much of the special equipment that the pupils rely on was left ravaged by the flames. (see picture of burned out wheel chair)
Hampden caters for children with a variety of complex learning difficulties and with six weeks of term remaining there is no chance of pupils returning to the building.
The school was due to close in August when pupils were to have moved to Richmond Park School, in Oatlands. Now they have been split up over three schools and are adjusting to new school environments at Hazelwood near Clarkston, Linburn in Hillington as well as Richmond Park.
Glasgow City Council has vowed to help ease this transition. ‘Officers will ensure the interruption to the children’s schooling is kept to a minimum,’ said Councillor Paul Rooney, Executive member for Education.
Lynne Shinie, a teacher at Hampden School who has worked in the intensive support unit which gives one-to-one assistance to pupils, told the LOCAL NEWS: ‘This is a great school to work for. The children are billiant. It’s a tragic shame that all the children’s work has been lost through this fire.’
Castlemilk man, Willie McQueen is a parent whose son Carl (10) has Downs Syndrome and has been attending the school for nine years. Said Willie: ‘It is unbelievable the work that this school did with my Carl. It’s sickening what has happened. I just wish I could find the people who did it.’ Another parent, Liz McCafferty from Govanhill has her daughter Cara (7) at the school. Cara also has Downs Syndrome. Said Liz: ‘ This is one of the best schools in the whole of Glasgow. The work they do with the children is absolutely amazing. I am gutted by what has been done. It is shocking and a real disgrace.’
Hazelwood School staff were overwhelmed by the amount of interest shown in the £6.3m state-of-the-art facility near Bellahouston Park, during Doors Open Saturday. In just five hours, the school for pupils with sensory impairment had over 1,000 visitors.
Opened last August, Hazelwood brought together pupils from Kelvin School and Carnbooth Residential School for the Deaf Blind which are both now closed.
Currently 46 children and young people from age 2 to 19 are educated at Hazelwood.
Head teacher Monica McGeever was involved with the architects in the design of the building. She said: ‘There is a lack of the kind of displayed materials you’d expect to see in a school. We know from research that pupils with sensory impairment prefer a clutter free environment.’
Running around the classrooms is a sensory wall – wooden panels with raised lines which cleverly double as storage space. Mrs McGeever said: ‘It wouldn’t be appropriate to take our older pupils by the hand. The sensory wall allows them to navigate their own way around.’
All class rooms are north facing allowing for maximum light without glare. The rooms are acoustically designed to reduce noise from the nearby M77. The school takes pupils from eight local authorities with one pupil travelling daily from Lockerbie. The school also features a therapy pool where pupils learn to swim and enjoy recreation time.
Mrs McGeever concluded: ‘The weekend was very positive and we will be opening our doors again next year.’