Young local musicians and dancers last week found themselves performing alongside Heavy Metal Finnish Rock bands to delight of the audiences in Parkano, Finland.  They were participating in the innovative “Rising Youth Bands” project, during the first international programme of the YesCommAct Transnational LEADER funded Project between Huntly and partner rural communities in Finland  (Juankoski, Parkano, Nilsia and Paltimo), timed to coincide with the Art Festivo an annual  international music and arts festival in Parkano.


The Rising Youth Bands project aims to bring together young musicians and dancers from both countries to share and develop their skills with the support of expert tutors and mentors. Representing Huntly and showcasing our rich living culture were sisters Cait and Annie Lennox mesmerising the audience with their singing, fiddle playing and dancing together with accomplished dancer Gordon Raeburn who’s playing of the bagpipes was an unexpected and greatly appreciated treat for the Finns.


Accompanied  by Pam Johnston on fiddle and Keith Cockburn on guitar the Huntly musicians  provided ample informal opportunities for the Finns to enjoy a real ceilidh experience with additional “ Team Huntly“ members Norma Hunter, Debbie Haefner and Jane Lockyer encouraging locals to join them in Scottish dance.


YesCommAct project co-ordinator for Huntly Jane Lockyer said, “This has been a tremendous start to the project, the youngsters have had been given the opportunity to perform with the benefit of the very best stage, lighting and sound systems. Performances have been recorded and a DVD of the concert will be produced. We will be given the  opportunity to use the recorded material to produce demo tapes to help the youngsters promote themselves; the project is intended to help them develop, not only their music and performing skills but also the technical and marketing  skills required to work professionally.”


“Team Huntly” members also had the opportunity to visit education, forestry and rural development projects in this region of Western Finland and were shown how to make traditional red ochre paint, used by the Finns to paint their wooden houses.


“There are several different strands to the YesCommAct project,” said Jane, in addition to collaborating on the music front we are exchanging traditional building skills and also focusing on developing skills locally here in Huntly, linking in with the ongoing Huntly Employability project. We are now busy planning a return visit to Finland in June and we will be hosting our partners in Huntly during the first week in August.”


Anyone who wishes to know more or be involved, please contact Debbie at Huntly Development Trust Office  on 01466 799416 or



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