Young performers shine at Penicuik concert

Marcus Swietlicki
Marcus Swietlicki

Four young musicians from the Penicuik area entertained an audience of almost 150 at a Classical Youth Concert held in St Mungo’s Church, Penicuik.

They were tenor Marcus Swietlicki, pianist Fraser Jamieson, clarsach player Zoe Galbraith and saxophonist Ewan Booth.

Funds raised from the concert are earmarked for Rotary charities, internationally and locally with a large slice going to support Penicuik participants in the 2017 Special Olympics which will take place in Sheffield in August 2017.

During the evening, Fraser Jamieson on piano played several classical pieces and one of his own compositions.

Fraser is a former Penicuik High School student and very versatile musician who played guitar with the Midlothian Rock Band at the Usher Hall. He also performed piano in the Rotary Young Musician Competition progressing to the area final. He is now studying popular music at Edinburgh College with guitar as his main instrument and is hoping to progress to composing for film and TV.

Tenor Marcus Swietlicki appeared throughout the evening singing a wide selection of songs which ranged from Schubert to Andrew Lloyd-Weber.

The idea for the concert came from Marcus and his family as a means of recognising that Penicuik Rotary Club supported Marcus during the Rotary Young Musician Competition earlier in the year.

In that competition he progressed through various stages to compete in and win the regional competition (Scotland and NE England) then attained third place in the national finals held in Telford, Shropshire.

Seventeen-year-old Marcus is a student at Penicuik High School. He began singing with the National Boys’ Choir at 11 years old and then had lessons with mezzosoprano Kathleen McKellar Ferguson in 2013. The following year, he performed a tenor solo in Perth Concert Hall accompanied by the National Boys’ Choir and that year was also chosen to take part in a masterclass at Scottish Opera Connect with soprano Judith Howard.

In 2016 Marcus gained a place in the tenor section of the National Youth Choir of Scotland and was recently awarded first place at the Glasgow Music Festival Oratorio under 18 class. Marcus will be auditioning for music college later in the year hoping to become a professional classical singer.

Also on stage was Zoe Galbraith, an 18-year-old student at Penicuik High School, who played ‘Sands of Hosta’, ‘Natanliana’ and ‘Diel among the Tailors’ on the clarsach. Zoe also plays the ukulele which she took up in S2 and started learning piano a year and a half ago. Her ambition is to gain access to the Conservatoire and then to become a music teacher.

Ewan Booth playing the saxophone provided yet another dimension to the event when he played such diverse numbers as ‘Sinfonia from Cantata No 156’ by Bach and ‘Take Five’ by Paul Desmond.

Ewan started playing the saxophone in P7 at Cornbank Primary School and is now in S4 at Penicuik High where he plays an active role in the school’s music activities, performing in wind and jazz bands.

Ewan has recently started taking lessons from Sue MacKenzie, one of Scotland’s leading contemporary saxophonists and leader and founder of the Scottish Saxophone Ensemble. Music is a very important part of the Booth family’s life with Ewan’s mother a cellist and his brother a keen violinist.

The concert closed with Marcus Swietlicki singing ‘Bring him Home’ by Boubil and Schonberg. An emotional end to a fantastic evening which was enjoyed by all there and made the audience so proud to have such wonderful young people among the Penicuik community.