Young musicians’ tribute to the maestro

Lady Veronica Gibson with some of the Lanarkshire pupils who paid tribute to her husband at the Spring Concert.
Lady Veronica Gibson with some of the Lanarkshire pupils who paid tribute to her husband at the Spring Concert.

Young musicians from across Lanarkshire celebrated the life of legendary Motherwell conductor Sir Alexander Gibson at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall.

Sir Alexander, a former pupil of Dalziel High School, became an internationally renowned conductor and musical director.

This year’s Spring Concert, part of the Celebrating Lanarkshire 2013 campaign, welcomed as guest of honour his widow, Lady Veronica Gibson, who was delighted with the tribute.

She said: “It is such an honour that the Lanarkshire Schools’ Music Group have dedicated their spring concert in memory of my husband. He would have been very pleased to see so much talent coming from young musicians across the county.

“It is wonderful to see so many young people involved in the concert playing a vast range of musical instruments. My husband would have thoroughly enjoyed being here tonight.”

Over 600 young musicians meet each week in Coatbridge High to practise their skills and rehearse for concerts.

Christine Pollock, executive director of learning and leisure services, said: “North Lanarkshire has developed a well deserved reputation for musical excellence, year after year turning out musicians of outstanding talent, and instilling in young people a love of music which we hope will stay with them for the rest of their lives.”

The Lanarkshire pupils formed into a wind band, preparatory band, traditional music group, rock ensemble, symphony and jazz orchestras and also a pipe band.

The songs ranged from traditional ones on the pipes such as ‘The Green Hills of Tyrol’, to modern day hits ‘Seven Nation Army’ by the White Stripes and ‘Sweet Dreams’ by the Eurythmics, both which the rock ensemble performed.

Convener of learning and leisure services Jim Logue said: “The performance by the pupils is testimony to the hard work, talent and commitment of all our young musicians, to their parents who support and encourage them, and to the staff who challenge them to give their very best.

“It was inspirational to see the creativity and talent of the young musicians at the concert.”

Sir Alexander Gibson was educated at the RSAMD and founded Scottish Opera in 1962 where he was music director until 1986.

He was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1967 and knighted in 1977.

Sir Alexander became president of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama, where in his memory the Alexander Gibson School of Opera opened in 1988 and was the first purpose-built opera school in the UK.

He is honoured and remembered in the Celebrating Lanarkshire 2013 Hall of Fame which can be seen at www.lanarkshire2013.com as well as a calendar of events celebrating many other memorable people from around Lanarkshire.