Lochaber Rotary is delighted to hear that Ruairidh Poll of Lochaber High School has been selected for the flagship National Youth Orchestra of Scotland Jazz Orchestra after a demanding audition process. 

Thanks to the Kenneth J Macpherson Memorial Trust for Young Musicians of Lochaber, now administered by Rotary, Ruaraidh was able to attend the Access Course for the National Youth Jazz Orchestra last year and had improvisation lessons with the inspirational performer and educator, Sue McKenzie.  The Trust was set up in 1995 in memory of the late principal Teacher of Music at Lochaber High School.

S5 student Ruairidh, said; “We spoke a lot about stylistic things like having a great swing feel and the importance of articulation. It was super to learn techniques for better structuring and developing solos and different ways of implementing contrast.

“Lessons with Sue have definitely been helpful but I think that Access was even more so. In the spring I learned a lot about functional harmony and how to approach more effectively playing over complex changes, for example. 

“The second set of NYOS sessions were incredibly inspiring and motivating, connecting with other people like myself. It was very valuable to receive good information on building practice routines and exercises as well as understanding how to create  my own personal relationship with music. The summer course has had a profoundly influential impact on my playing and on my life. Thanks so much for the financial support.”

Principal Music Instructor with High Life Highland, Karen Thomson, said; “This lets Rotary see how beneficial their financial assistance has been to Ruairidh’s musical education and we are very grateful.  We cannot provide this level of experience in Lochaber High for the exceptionally talented students and it really means a lot that they can be supported in this way to expand their musical boundaries.”

Rotary President Simon Hardiman, said; “Lochaber has a strong musical tradition and it is always great to see our young folk achieving great things and we wish Ruairidh well as he moves on to the national stage”.