Young European medics tune up for charity concert

Young European medics tune up for charity concert

Musical medical students from throughout Europe are set to tune in to the generosity of the people of Aberdeen and Edinburgh in a bid to raise essential funds for a charity that helps children in the Ukraine.

The European Medical Students' Orchestra (EMSO) will perform two concerts in Scotland for the first time since it first met in Wurzburg in 1993. The first will take place at the McEwan Hall in Edinburgh on Friday, July 30, and the second at the Mitchell Hall on Saturday, July 31.

Around 70 students from throughout Europe are expected to arrive in Aberdeen over the next day or so for a week of intensive rehearsing. Organiser Paula Starritt, who has just graduated from the University of Aberdeen, said that getting everyone to Aberdeen has been no easy task.

"Organising the concerts has not been very easy at times, especially with some of the students coming from Eastern Europe.

"We had one student from Lithuania who was having problems with both her visa and in securing funding for her stay in Aberdeen. We contacted the British Embassy to see if the Ambassador might be able to help waive the fee for her visa and it turned out that he was a keen musician. As a result, he offered to pay for her accommodation in Aberdeen, which was really nice of him and she is now able to take part in the concerts."

Meanwhile, other problems, including that of transport, have been resolved thanks to the help and generosity of Stagecoach in Aberdeen, the Prime Minister and the Queen.

Paula said: "At one point, we had no transport to take us to the concerts and we thought we were going to have to cancel them both. We contacted Stagecoach Holdings Plc in Aberdeen and they have very kindly offered us free buses to take the group to Edinburgh and back.

"I also wrote to Prime Minister Tony Blair and the Queen in a bid to get some help with organising the visit and, as a result, we were given permission to visit both Balmoral Castle and Edinburgh Castle, which will be great for our colleagues from abroad. We are very grateful to everyone for their help."

Proceeds from the concert will go to the Children of Hope Trust, a charity that raises money to help children in the Ukraine who are currently undergoing operations without anaesthesia. A concert by the British Isles Medical Students' Orchestra (BIMSO), also organised by Paula and which took place in January this year, raised Ј500 for the Trust.

A challenging programme of music has been arranged for the concerts, including Berlioz, Le Corsaire Overture, Berg's Violin Concerto and Rachmaninov's Symphony No 2. The orchestra will also be joined by violinist Graeme Jennings from the internationally famous Arditti Quartet and by conductor and doctor David Banney.

Tickets for the concerts are Ј8 and Ј4 (concessions) and are available from Aberdeen Box Office, or by contacting Paula on (01224) 643467, or e-mail pstarritt@hotmail.com

Photocall: The orchestra will be meeting for a rehearsal at 11am on Friday, July 23, 1999. Anyone who is interested in filming/photographing the rehearsal, or speaking to the organisers should contact Paula on (0411) 504163.

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