Flora Douglas, a participant in Aberdeen’s Scottish Culture and Traditions (SC&T) programme, and recently appointed board member of the organisation, reflects on the vital role of community music organisations in providing access to traditional music.
I’ve just been asked to join the SC&T (Scottish Culture and Traditions) board and I aim to do whatever I can to support the work of an organisation that has given me so much over the last 15 years. Like many people of my generation, traditional music was not a mainstream sport when I was growing up in the West of Scotland in the 70s and 80s: quite the reverse in fact. I’ve heard Alasdair Fraser, our patron, talk often about the Scottish Condition and Cultural Cringe that affected too many of us during this time. I can personally testify to having suffered from this affliction in the past. As a 14 year old Stewarton High School pupil, I remember the anxiety (nay, terror even) that I might be found out, guilty as charged, of attending (the thoroughly brilliant) Corries concerts in the Music Hall in Kilmarnock – which my enlightened mother took me along to as a closet folkie herself.
That the traditional music scene is flourishing, as it is nowadays, is due in no small part to community-based organisations like SC&T which has provided so many of us with that second chance to have a go at playing the music, singing the songs and dancing to the rhythms that we have come to know and love as mainstream Scottish culture these days. This ex-trombone now aspiring fiddle player, is very grateful to SC&T for that chance, and the very rich experience of learning to dance, sing and play with friends old, new and not yet met (from all airts and pairts) these last years. I look forward to working with the other SC&T board members to encourage and enable others to do the same.
This article first appeared in the SC&T newsletter of June 2015.