Ringer Spy Aleta writes: I just attended the Royal Scottish National Orchestra classic children’s concert, Magic and Monsters, at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh with my youngest daughter. Billy Boyd was there, narrating a brand new piece. Here’s my report:

Well, we’re back! I wish I could have frozen ourselves in time to make it all last longer. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra was first-class, along with the RSNO Junior Chorus (about 100 kids). Most of the music was familiar, including the theme from Babe, overture of the Magic Flute, Fantasia & The Sorcerer’s Apprentice. There were several compositions I hadn’t heard, but had a familiar style–one was kind of like the theme from Jaws.

In honour of Billy Boyd being there, the orchestra played several tunes from Lord of the Rings–I want to say that you haven’t heard the Lord of the Rings music until you’ve heard it played live by a full orchestra!!! That was the highlight for me. Oh, the shivers when Fellowship theme boomed through the concert hall, and goosebumps when they played the Hobbiton theme. The Junior Chorus sang the song that’s sung during the closing credits of FotR.

Then Billy came out (amidst great shouts, whistling & stomping by the delighted audience, young and old alike) and narrated a brand-new piece called “Misterstourworm and the Kelpie’s Gift” (about 15 minutes long, by Savourna Stevenson, words by Stuart Paterson) while the orchestra played out the story. Really fun to see him put his heart & soul into the narration. It was about a flying water-horse who tempted unwary travellers on to its back only to drown them as it plunged back down into the depths, then the story of Misterstourworm (I love the way Billy pronounced that), a terrible, fire-breathing, snake-like monster. The music was played in Peter-and-the-Wolf-style, but with added narration. It was an exciting story, and I wish I had it written down to read it again. In the end the dragon gets burned by its own fire, and when it dies in the water, the bits of the dragon that weren’t burnt turned gradually into the Hebridean Islands off the west coast of Scotland.

The last tune was, of course, the William Tell Overture. Everybody clapped & stomped their feet (on the most expensive wood floor in the most of us will ever see–the conductor’s words) all the way through, and the best part was that Billy conducted the whole WTO!! He was hilarious, and kept turning around, smiling & waving at the audience, leaning back and going through gyrations while he actually conducted the orchestra. I think he was enjoying himself as much as the audience!

Our seats were in the Grand Circle (normally the most expensive seats, but cheaper since it was a children’s concert), looking down on the huge stage from the front right-hand side so we could see every instrument. The sad thing was that no photographs were allowed at all–something to do with fear of child pornography :>( Usually, in that kind of lighting from that far away, no photos would have come out anyway. I might have just tried to sneak a couple, but I we had an official-looking lady usher sitting almost right behind us, and I knew she’d come up behind and tap me on the shoulder if I got out my camera. No one else took pictures either, except for the guy from the newspaper with the huge lens, so we’ll be watching the papers the next few days.

So, there’s my report. Sorry I couldn’t send you any photos. I wish I could have picked up the whole stage & concert and sent it to you, along with Billy!

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