From my email, this press release from Peter Stevenson:
[T]he Big Noise Sistema nucleo in Scotland is showing encouraging early results, both musically and the impact on the wider community. The children’s performance at the recent end of session concert was a big step up from what they showed in our concert with them in Edinburgh 6 weeks ago, and our music staff comment on the childrens [sic] growing awareness of each other and of the other sections in the orchestra. The children shared this concert with a quartet from the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra who played some Mozart, Haydn and Vivaldi, and an audience of 150 parents and siblings from one of Scotland’s more deprived districts sat and enjoyed this and their childrems [sic] playing, as if it was something that happened very year. This in a community which the doom merchants said could not possibly cope with classical music. Still a long, long way to go, but encouraging signs.
For those of you who are not familiar with Scotland, this is great news. Raploch estate had a reputation as only a place to get away from as fast as possible. Despite some redevelopment, Raploch remained one of Scotland’s most socially deprived areas. Having started the Big Noise project in June, we can see that at least initially, we might expect to see the same results in Scotland as in Venezuela. If this test case works, as I suspect it will, I hope to see more children’s orchestras develop in deprived communities around the world, and I’m excited to live in an age where such grassroots social initiatives are being done. I’m even more excited to see that they appear to be working!
see also: More about El Sistema