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Dundee’s campaign for Sistema Scotland orchestra launches at Abertay University concert

5 April 2013

Self-portrait by Vincent Rattray

The campaign to bring a Sistema Scotland orchestra to Dundee will be launched tonight (Friday 5 April) at a sell-out concert in an art gallery at the University of Abertay Dundee.

Lead by the family of legendary Dundee musician Michael Marra, the campaign will ask the capacity audience to sign a postcard sharing how music has changed their lives – and then send them to Dundee City Council, asking for its support.

Performances from Riley Briggs (of Aberfeldy), Rick Redbeard (of The Phantom Band), Alice Marra (of The Hazey Janes) and many more will be set against the paintings of artist Vincent Rattray, who was a great friend of Michael and the whole Marra family.

The concert will culminate in a mass performance of the much-loved Michael Marra song ‘Frida Kahlo's Visit to the Tay Bridge Bar’, where Michael Marra and Vincent Rattray shared time together.

Clare Brennan, curator of the Hannah Maclure Centre at Abertay University, said: “Abertay University is delighted to be hosting this launch event for the campaign to bring a Sistema Scotland orchestra to Dundee. The impact of the project for future generations in the city would be absolutely incredible.

“As Dundee prepares its strong bid for UK City of Culture 2017 it’s clear that projects like Sistema Scotland can reach out right across our city, and leave an amazing cultural legacy.”

Alice Marra, Michael’s daughter, is thrilled that the campaign is gaining momentum through unique events like this. She said: “Sistema Scotland offers an incredible opportunity to young people and my dad was really keen to encourage the project to be brought to Dundee.

“The fact that we can raise awareness of our appeal through an evening of music set amongst Vince’s work is really special. For me, it really honours my dad and Vince’s friendship in a meaningful way.”

Audience members will make donations on the night and all proceeds from the concert will go towards the Marra family’s appeal to start a Sistema Scotland Big Noise orchestra in Dundee.

The appeal has already raised in excess of £12,000, with more fundraising activities planned.

The first centre is in Raploch, Stirling, and has given hundreds of children access to musical instruments and the opportunity to learn musical skills for life.

The Big Noise Raploch project last year performed in Stirling with 200 Venezuelan musicians from the Simon Bolivar Orchestra, led by world-famous conductor Gustavo Dudamel.

The Vincent Rattray exhibition, ‘Synchronise Our Eyebrows’, is free and open to the public in Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre, on the top floor of the Student Centre on Bell Street.

It runs Monday to Friday, 10am-5pm, until 26 April.


For media enquiries, please contact Chris Wilson (Communications Manager) – T: 01382 308522 M: 07837 250284 E:

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