An Aberdeenshire orchestra is performing as a group once more, with some perfectly-spaced ancient standing stones helping to keep them safely apart.
Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra hadn’t met in person since March, following the lockdown put in place to slow the spread of coronavirus, and has instead stuck to online practices to keep themselves in tune.
However now that those restrictions have eased, and safe saxophone playing is allowed so long as its done four metres apart, the group is making merry music together once more.
And handily, an ancient set of standing stones near Inverurie has provided the ideal backdrop and inspiration for their latest production.
The orchestra’s chairwoman, Foss Foster, said: “As lockdown in Scotland eased, allowing us to travel more than five miles from home and meet up outdoors in larger numbers, members of Aberdeenshire Saxophone Orchestra started making a new music video.
“We had already been keeping ourselves musically active by recording a lockdown video. Now was the time to get a bit more adventurous.
“The music we recorded was The Dance at Easter Aquorthies, that Richard Ingham, our music director and well known saxophonist, composed specially for us.
“In the composition Richard imagined the ancient peoples, who erected the stone circle at Easter Aquorthies, celebrating with music and dance. For this reason we decided to base our video actually at Easter Aquorthies stone circle near Inverurie.
“Rather handily, the stones that make up the circle are set at the Covid-safe distance for saxophone playing of four metres.”
Not all of the group’s 25-plus members, hailing from as far afield as Banff, Mintlaw, Elgin and Aberdeen, could make the journey to the ancient stones, so joined in the video from home.
“Some joined in with the filming at Easter Aquorthies and others filmed themselves playing in other locations around the shire,” Ms Foster added.
“Since Aberdeenshire is the heart of the Ancient Kingdom of the Picts, we included one in the movie and we also borrowed the replica Carnyx from the Banff Preservation and Heritage society to add extra interest.”
The orchestra was formed 11 years ago as a youth initiative in Inverurie, but is now a charity with members aged from 10 to 77. Its new term starts on Sunday, September 27, with a full-day online rehearsal.
To find out more, go to www.aberdeenshiresaxorchestra.co.uk or email firstname.lastname@example.org, and the video can be viewed on YouTube at www.youtube.com/channel/UCqkYFFLjb1br5Utc61ccu7Q/