Dundee Rotary Club has donated £5,000 to the Big Noise music education programme, which will allow them to buy more instruments.
The club has donated the funds to Big Noise Douglas, which was launched by Sistema Scotland to help children realise their potential, improve lives and strengthen communities through music, nurturing relationships and establishing community-focused orchestras.
The money is part of the £100,000 the Rotary Club has pledged to spend on education and health projects across the city, as part of their centenary celebrations.
Big Noise Douglas helps young people increase their confidence, resilience and creativity, as well as offering opportunities to explore learning a musical instrument.
The programme in Dundee is one of four across Scotland, and is a legacy of the late Michael Marra.
The ‘Bard of Dundee’ had a dream to bring Big Noise to his home city to allow children in disadvantaged areas to benefit from a musical education.
His family and friends set up the charity Optimistic Sound to fulfil his dream and successfully campaigned and raised money for the establishment of Big Noise Douglas, which works in partnership with two primary schools – Claypotts Castle and St Pius – and is now in its fourth year.
The Big Noise programme concentrates on early years intervention and long-term delivery.
It starts with children at nursery level and progresses into the primary stages, building on the core skills of listening, concentration, rhythm and teamwork while learning to play instruments in a group.
Work with Nicola Benedetti
From Primary three and beyond, Big Noise evolves into a more intensive schedule of after-school and holiday club teaching, rehearsal and performance.
The Douglas pupils have performed at the Caird Hall as part of an event featuring the Dundee Symphony Orchestra and star violinist Nicola Benedetti.
She is a passionate supporter of Sistema Scotland, regularly devotes time to teaching the pupils and revels in the nickname of their “Big Sister”.
During last year’s lockdown, the Douglas pupils performed online with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra and along with counterparts from Big Noise programmes from schools in Stirling, Glasgow and Aberdeen.
Sistema Scotland and Big Noise Douglas regularly need funds for the programme and in particular for more instruments as more children join the programme.
Impressed by its work, the Rotary Club of Dundee decided it was a worthy cause to benefit from its Centenary Fund in meeting one of its criteria of the advancement of education.
Mary Crighton, former President of Dundee Rotary Club and a member of the centenary committee, said: “I’m so happy the Rotary Club of Dundee are able to support this wonderful programme, which helps children in Douglas build their self-esteem and develop a wide range of important life skills while learning and performing music.”
An instrument for everyone
Andy Thorn, head of the Big Noise Centre in Douglas, said: “Big Noise Douglas works with more children and families every year.
“Our new intake of Primary three’s are just starting and we now have over 120 participants in our after school club.
“It is great to know that we are able to provide an instrument for every participant that needs one. Thank you so much to the Rotary Club of Dundee for believing in our work and in all the Douglas children who are determined to make a Big Noise!”
Donald Gordon, a trustee of Optimistic Sound, said: “It is wonderful to see Big Noise Douglas continue teaching and supporting children during these extremely challenging times, thanks to generous donations such as this.
“The support of the Rotary Club of Dundee will make a very real difference to local children and families.”