Dutch orchestra’s pop-up performance proves a hit

Dutch street orchestra Ricciotti Ensemble performs an open air concert in Galashiels as part of its Scottish tour.
Dutch street orchestra Ricciotti Ensemble performs an open air concert in Galashiels as part of its Scottish tour.

The self-proclaimed “craziest orchestra in the world”, the Ricciotti Ensemble, were in Galashiels last Thursday evening on the final leg of their Scottish tour.

The Dutch alternative street orchestra, famed for their free and spontaneous performances, entertained more than 100 bystanders in a sunny Cornmill Square in the unticketed event.

Organised in partnership with Energise Galashiels and Borders Live Touring, the performance proved a huge hit with a large crowd gathering around the fountain to enjoy a varied performance which included the group’s own take on Robert Burns’ Address to the Haggis, Dougie MacLean’s Caledonia and even impromptu performances from youngsters in the audience who came forward to sing their favourite nursery rhymes and songs.

The group’s conductor, Leonard Evers, said afterwards: “It’s incredible to be in the Borders. We had been in Glasgow and Edinburgh, so it was so nice to see the scenery and visit the little villages where people are a little different to in the city.
“Everyone is enjoying themselves a lot.

“It’s been great to get out in the local communities across Scotland and it’s a great atmosphere here in Galashiels.

“It was so nice having the little children asking to come up to perform with us too.”

The orchestra, which consists of 41 young emerging professional musicians, boasts membership from Holland, Spain, New Zealand, Portugal, Switzerland, Scotland and America.

They play an average of five performances a day, 25 days a year for an audience of some 24,000 people.

Their eight-day tour, “The Scottish Fling”, has seen them give 22 organised concerts – everywhere from prisons and food banks to churches and care homes. The group is famed for its spontaneous performances and surprised customers at McDonald’s in Galashiels last Thursday.