A Royal appointment for Stornoway singer

Josie outside Dumfries House
Josie outside Dumfries House

An accomplished singer from Lewis was among students of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland who entertained members of the Royal Family at Dumfries House in Ayrshire to mark ten years since HRH Prince Charles, Duke of Rothesay, saved the estate for the nation.

Josie Duncan, 22, a former pupil of the Nicolson Institute, entertained a select audience in the Tapestry Room of the Palladian mansion, including The Prince and his wife, The Duchess of Rothesay, as part of a live radio broadcast from the House to mark the estate’s anniversary, as well as Classic FM’s 25th birthday.

Recitals were performed by radio presenters Myleene Klass and Aled Jones as well as Josie’s fellow students of Glasgow’s Royal Conservatoire (RCS), whose link with Dumfries House provides high-quality performing arts to the East Ayrshire community in the form of regular performances and education programmes.

The Prince has transformed the estate near Cumnock in order to use it to help people engage in learning experiences that promote confidence and personal development, as well as offer training in real-life skills to open up future employment opportunities.

Josie, who is studying on the Bachelor of Music (Traditional Music) course at RCS, said: “Dumfries House is absolutely beautiful. It is a unique venue, with so much attention to detail. We met the Duke and Duchess of Rothesay after our performance and they spoke of their genuine interest in traditional music.

“Performing at Dumfries House is the latest of many opportunities I have gained through the Royal Conservatoire.

“I’ve had my first experiences performing abroad and live on radio, and they have been really special. It has been lots of fun and hard work but I am really grateful.”

From modest beginnings, Dumfries House is now the second-largest employer in East Ayrshire with more than 200 full-time and part-time staff across the house, estate and education and training programmes.