Western Isles music students perform at Buckingham Palace

L to R - Jamie MacDonald from Tiree, Euan Smillie (18) from Kilmuir on the Black Isle, Amy MacAulay from South Uist, Greg Barry (20) from Loch Ussie near Dingwall and programme leader Anna-Wendy Stevenson.
L to R - Jamie MacDonald from Tiree, Euan Smillie (18) from Kilmuir on the Black Isle, Amy MacAulay from South Uist, Greg Barry (20) from Loch Ussie near Dingwall and programme leader Anna-Wendy Stevenson.

TWO music students from the Western Isles performed at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, May 23rd.

Amy MacAulay (22) from South Uist and Jamie MacDonald (17) from Tiree joined two students from the east Highlands to play for a number of VIPs, including HRH The Princess Royal.

The quartet, which was made up of University of the Highlands and Islands’ students, performed a selection of traditional Scottish and Gaelic music as well as their own compositions.

Amy is a keen fiddler and Jamie specialises in whistles as well as fiddle. Speaking about the event Amy said: “It was such an honour to be chosen to represent the university at an event in Buckingham Palace.

“The music was a success and a lot of people came to talk to us after the event to give thanks. It was a once in a lifetime experience I definitely won’t forget.”

The musical performance was part of a University of the Highlands and Islands and University of the Highlands and Islands Development Trust event to thank existing donors and supporters and connect with other key individuals and businesses with strong links to the Highlands.

Over 60 guests attended the event which was hosted by HRH The Princess Royal. HRH was installed as the first chancellor of the university in June 2012.

Nuala Boyle, head of development at the university, said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our talented students as well as illustrate the diversity of our university offering.”

Amy and Jamie travelled to Buckingham Palace from Lews Castle College UHI’s Benbecula campus on Uist where they study the university’s HNC in music.

Delivered by tutors with backgrounds in the music industry, the applied music course encourages participants to gain as much live performance experience as possible.

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, programme leader for the applied music degree, said: “Our students were very excited to be representing the university at this important event and they practiced hard.

“They showcased their talents as well as the Gaelic song and traditional music of the Highland and Islands region.

“The performance highlighted the success of the university’s innovative music courses like our applied music degree which is available all over Scotland,” she added.

The students have already played for the BBC TV programme Landward, Swiss Radio and the Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow this year.

To find out more about the University of the Highlands and Islands music courses visit www.whi.ac.uk or call the course information line on 0845 272 3600.

You can read about the University of the Highlands and Islands Development Trust at www.development.uhi.ac.uk