Pulling a few strings to take an orchestra outdoors

The Inspiration Orchestra supports people with disabilities in Tayside.

An orchestra has moved outdoors to give its musicians a lifeline during lockdown.

The Inspiration Orchestra, which supports people with disabilities in Tayside, has been unable to meet since March.

But tutor Ian White pulled some strings to make sure weekly lessons could continue in his pupils’ gardens.

He said: “I had some parents saying these lessons would be the only thing they would have in the whole week, so it was really important even if it was raining with the pupil standing in the porch and me out, even for a short time.

“I found it was such a help for morale it was worth doing.

“We picked certain songs and we’ve just got through it making wee videos, putting them on our website and just getting through as best as we can.”

Drummer Keith Stewart, from Monifieth, and violinist Olwyn Day, from Dundee, are two of the people who’ve been gigging in their gardens.

Olwyn’s mum Ashley said: “It’s been really difficult with everything stopping and Olwyn’s missed out on all her normal activities so it’s been brilliant having Ian coming round.

“It’s given her a focus, given her things to learn, all the new songs that he gives her  and doing all the recordings for going on Facebook has give her something to work towards.”

Keith’s mum Teresa added: “We’ve been out in all weathers. Sometimes we use the summer house if it’s really heavy rain.

“Ian has been magnificent. He travels from Perth and gives up his time and it means so much to us. It gives Keith so much enjoyment.

“It might only be a chord or a couple of notes on the keyboard, or a strum on the guitar, but put them all together and they are a real inspiration.”

Anyone with a disability can join the orchestra and membership involves weekly music lessons and usually weekly rehearsals and public concerts.

The lessons are free and the current age range is 20-73 years.