Tuesday 25th October began with warm ups and choir and then we caught up with some music literacy.
Wednesday saw us beginning a new piece in choir - Bach Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring. Lovely. The choir is sounding great now. More dynamics and tighter.
In the afternoon, we played Handel again in the classical strings group. Starting to come together too. Looking ahead to two performances next week.
Alasdair Allan MSP, Minister for Learning and Skills visited us this week and heard some of our choir practice. I was watching the civil servants at the back - a role I know very well after years working in the Scottish Government. They in turn were probably hoping the Minister would stick to the brief! It all went smoothly.
I spent some time reading the published views in response to consultation about the merger of Stevenson and Jewell and Esk Colleges. I was pretty disappointed in this document. The website gave the impression that this was a comprehensive summary of responses. As I said, I have worked in policy in central government and I have done numerous consultations. The document is not an analysis, or even a summary, of responses but seems a selective list of quotes. Hmmmm. I would expect, at the least, to see the number of responses received and the number that answered yes or no to the core question about whether the two colleges should be merged. I'd also expect all the responses to be made publicly available (unless people said they wished to remain anonymous). From memory I don't think this was an option. Perhaps there is more to come….
For anyone interested there seems support for the merger among Ministers. An extract from Holyrood magazine states:
"With a ten per cent reduction in their public funding this year and rising demand for places, colleges are surely under strain. And rationalisation appears to be the direction of travel. McClelland revealed at the event that more than 30 out of 41 colleges – 75 per cent – “have or are considering mergers, federations or very close collaborations”. Three of Glasgow’s colleges came together last year to form the City of Glasgow Colleges while two Edinburgh institutions are currently consulting on amalgamation. The minister welcomed these moves and warned that this is an area in which government “will have no option but to take a much closer interest”. The recently announced Griggs Review of college governance could take the issue a step further.But as merger creeps onto the agenda, what will that trend mean for the sector? Is it merely a cost-saving exercise, or are there genuine educational benefits to be gained?
The proposed merger between Stevenson College Edinburgh and Jewel & Esk College might serve as a good test case. After lengthy discussions, the two institutions have announced plans to come together by the summer of 2012.
For the full article follow this link. Also read an interesting Oral Parliamentary question tabled by Sarah Boyack earlier this month.
Wednesday night was a great night at the Tass. I play there most Wednesdays but last night was our special Oxjam night - a charity event we have every two years. There were a load of great musicians (people like Sandy Brechin on accordian and Gavin Pennycook on fiddle and nyckelharpa) as well as the session regulars. Gavin Pennycook played some of his Scottish and Irish tunes on the Nyckelharpa or Swedish fiddle as its sometimes known. There are probably only four or five in Scotland just now. Is odd as our music really lends itself to the instrument.
I had a chat with him as I am interested in the nykelharpa given my love of Scandanavian music. We also plan to make one in the future and I wanted to ask if we could make contact to look at it more closely.
One of our session (Patty) comes from South America, and so many of the latin american community in Edinburgh joined us - which was great. We sang a few spanish songs.
Not heard how much was raised yet.
Thursday was Folk group which is seriously good fun. We have been working on the arrnagement and harmonies. I am really looking to forward to the next session. Then more practising before tomorrow (Friday 28th).