If you “fancy a fiddle” or “Enjoy a bash on a box” (that’s an accordion to those not up to speed with the lingo) then consider joining one of Aberdeen Strathspey & Reel’s traditional Scottish music orchestras. Below are some frequently asked questions for those who may be interested.
When/where do you rehearse?
The orchestras rehearse on Monday evenings during school terms. The concert session commences the first Monday in September and usually runs through to the end of May.
Junior orchestras rehearse 6.30pm to 7.30pm. The Senior orchestra rehearses 7.30pm to 9.00pm.
Please check the rehearsals venue page for the latest information on where we are rehearsing.
Do I need my own instrument?
Yes, you will require your own instrument. The Society may be able to supply a violin on short term loan, but this is not guaranteed.
What instruments do you have in the orchestras?
The orchestras currently consist of violins, accordions, double basses and a piano. We may occassionally accept other instruments – please contact us to discuss.
What standard of playing do I need to be?
We try to be as flexible as possible in accommodating a range of playing abilities. For the senior orchestra as a rough guide, based on the music we typically play, you should be:
- approximately equivalent to Grade 3
- able to (occasionally) play in third position
If you’re not sure if you meet the above guide come along to a rehearsal to see, hear and speak to us first hand. Recent experience is not a requirement – many of our members have joined to revive old skills after a long period of not playing. Experience of traditional Scottish music is not a requirement either.
Will I need to audition?
No, auditions for membership are not held. If you meet the playing requirements above all you will need to do is complete a membership application form for consideration by the management committee, copies of the form are also available from the Secretary.
Do you offer tuition?
No, the Society does not offer individual tuition. If required we can recommend private tutors. However, we do hold music skills workshops for our members. Past workshops we have held include those run by Paul Anderson, Scott Gordon and Catherine Fraser.
Do you only accept members from Aberdeen city?
There is no geographical restriction on membership, but orchestra members need to be able to attend rehearsals in Aberdeen regularly.
Players currently come from both the Aberdeen City and Aberdeenshire areas. Most of our concerts are also in the Aberdeen City area.
How much does it cost?
Membership Fees are currently £30 per year for senior members, £15 per year for concessions (under 16s and those receiving State Pensions).
Non-players can support the Society by joining as a Friend for £10 per year.
How often do I need to attend rehearsals and concerts?
Playing members are expected to attend rehearsals regularly (ideally at least twice a month, but we recognise that people may have shift patterns or other work/family commitments that have to come first, just keep at the individual pratice).
There is no requirement to play at a fixed number of concerts in a session.
What is concert dress?
Concert dress depends on the size/formality of the concert. For our larger concerts tartan is the preference for both ladies (long or short kilt) and gents (kilt or trousers), but black skirts or trousers are also acceptable.
How is the Society managed?
The affairs of the Society are managed in accordance with its Constitution and Rules. The Society is run by a Management Committee appointed from playing members of the orchestra.
What music do you play?
Our primary aim is the practice and performance of traditional Scottish music. Traditional refers to the type and style of music rather than the age. Many of our concerts feature new composers as well as past masters such as J Scott Skinner. Although we’re called Aberdeen Strathspey & Reel Society, our repertoire also includes Marches, Waltzes, Two Steps, Barn dances, Quick Steps, Bothy Ballads, Traditional songs and the occasional piece of international music.
How to apply?
Come along to a rehearsal and see us in action for yourself. If you’re interested complete the membership application form (see the attachment below) and the committee will take it from there.