Stronsay’s Silver Darlings started for me one Saturday afternoon when I visited my sister Alison. There in her kitchen at Breck sat five young musicians, three fiddlers and two accordionists, all Stronsay teenagers, playing traditional Scottish music. I was overwhelmed by their talent and enthusiasm. Being part of the local Stronsay band, I saw these five teenagers in ten years time, if not before, entertaining and providing dance music for the local community.
As a parent first and foremost and also being a member of staff at the Stronsay School, I was in a prime position to possibly motivate and organise a 'peedie tune' every week. With much encouragement, advice and support from Mae Laverie, Janice Maxwell and Ishbel Borland, all members of staff within the school, the school board and parents of the children, we, Janice, my brother Mike and I held our first session. Fourteen children turned up that first night. There were accordions, fiddles, cellos, keyboard, guitars, bass guitar and a mandolin, a great variety of instruments and a superb group of young enthusiastic people.
We have played at the Kirk for the watch night services, the lighting of the Stronsay Christmas tree, entertained the Stronsay companions at their Christmas dinner and Easter teas and played at local galas and concerts. A highlight of 2008 was entering the Openstage competition at the Orkney Folk Festival. We were runners up in this event. Also in 2008 we produced our first CD. The local community helped us raise money for this dream to come true. We are also grateful to ‘Awards For All’ for their grant.
We have now recorded a further two CDs, ‘Reelin’Em In’ was released in 2010 and ‘North O’the Galt’ was released in 2012. Original and new members of the group proudly keeping the traditional sound of Stronsay’s Silver Darlings alive.
These music sessions have encouraged children to work and play music together, to listen to what's going on around them and most of all to have fun and enjoy music.
Children, parents, members of the Stronsay school staff and the local community have all worked together to make this venture very successful, entertaining and most enjoyable.
If music be the food of love, play on!