Scottish talent spread Christmas cheer at Witherbys Arts Festival

Emerging musicians from Scottish Opera, Live Music Now Scotland, Nevis Ensemble and more to adapt festive classics across 12 days of music videos

It may be a different sort of Christmas ahead, but not even COVID can stop Christmas music. Each day until Fri 18 Dec, as part of the very first Witherbys Arts Festival, there's a different musical take on Christmas to enjoy, with everything from Scotland's 2018 Young Traditional Musician of the Year singing Wham!'s 'Last Christmas', to St Andrew's Voices who bring together voice, piano and tabla. Scottish composer James MacMillan and ABBA get a festive look in too.

The idea for 12 days of Christmas music videos was dreamt up over dinner one evening by Witherby Publishing's music loving directors Kat Heathcote and Ian McNeill. 'We were aware of the issues for current graduate musicians,' says Heathcote. 'They are trying to break through in the profession and it couldn't be a worse time for them to do so. These guys have suddenly been left hanging. We wanted to do something properly for them with high quality videos and enough of a budget to make sure that the artists are paid properly, which is critical.' Other young musical talent taking part comes from Scottish Opera, Nevis Ensemble, Drake Music's digital orchestra, Live Music Now Scotland, Dunedin Consort and the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

The company is also keen to spread the joy of Christmas music across their international client base, with the staff team at home having direct involvement too. 'Each of the 12 videos is introduced by a staff member,' says Heathcote, 'with myself and my husband doing the last one. We are a global business and we want this music, which is by Scottish or Scottish based emerging artists, to be visible globally.' Filmed in three Glasgow locations – Adelaide Place, the historic Britannia Panopticon and St Andrew's West – the project also gives worldwide viewers a glimpse of the Isle of Lewis, where Celtic band Heron Valley were conveniently recording their next album.

Witherbys Arts Festival, on now until Fri 18 Dec. The music videos will air on their YouTube channel.

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