The talent of young musicians from disadvantaged communities creates a feeling of “incredible optimism” for Scotland’s future, the First Minister has said.
Children from the Big Noise programme visited the Scottish Parliament on Wednesday to celebrate 10 years since it was created, with around 80 youngsters performing for politicians.
The Sistema Scotland charity, which founded the programme, was launched in 2008 with 35 children, but now has more than 2,500 youngsters taking part each week learning instruments such as violin, flute and trumpet.
Speaking at the event, Nicola Sturgeon said: “I’ve been to lots of events over the years in this Scottish Parliament and I don’t think it’s any exaggeration to say that this is the best event I have ever attended.
“That’s partly because of the fantastic music that we’ve already heard this evening, but it’s also because of what this represents.
“That is the talent and creativity and the determination of young people, right across Scotland.
“When I look and listen to all of you, I’m just filled with an incredible optimism for the future of our country.”
Through its programme, Big Noise aims to boost educational performance, health and wellbeing to youngsters who live in disadvantaged communities.
Writer and broadcaster Sally Magnusson, board member of the charity, hosted the event telling the story of Big Noise through musical performances, songs and interviews.
The set list included music from Pirates Of The Caribbean and the Skye Boat Song as well as The Hello Song, which is the first music children learn when they start the programme.
Richard Holloway, founder of the charity, said: “Our best apologists for the movement are the children – no longer people like me.
“To hear these young children talking about what this Big Noise movement has meant to them.
“The confidence it’s given them, the ability to work and to listen, to play hard and work hard – that’s really what touches my heart.
“That’s the most significant change, because they’ll take that into the rest of their lives.”