Musicians do their county proud on trip of lifetime

The Northumbrian Ranters group during their USA trip.

The Northumbrian Ranters group during their USA trip.

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A GROUP of young musicians from across the county have enjoyed an unforgettable American adventure.

Members of the Northumbrian Ranters recently travelled to the USA to play a few concerts and see some tourist sites in New York and Vermont.

When they arrived, they met up with a group called the Strawberry Hill Fiddlers, who came over to Northumberland last year.

As well as a joint workshop and a ceilidh performance, the youngsters went into New York City where they visited iconic venues such as Central Park and Times Square.

The second section of the trip was hosted by the Fiddleheads band, based in the Vermont city of Burlington.

There were good turnouts for concerts in Burlington and Randolph and the non-music highlight was a visit to the Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory.

Among the 37 traditional music players from 18 schools across Northumberland was Morpeth resident Debbie Snowdon.

She said: “It’s so difficult to pick a favourite moment or memory as every part of the trip was so unique and unforgettable.

“We got to experience what it was like to live in an American family, which was amazing. They were so welcoming and such lovely people, who I now share many memories with and I hope to go and back and visit them in future.

“Not only this, but we got to experience, learn and share different music. This brought us together not only as orchestras, but as friends, who I hope to stay in contact with for the rest of my life.

“I would like to greatly thank those who organised the visit – Richard and Fiona Johnstone, Jacky Craig and Dave Medd – for making this trip the experience of a lifetime, filled with so many memories that I think I can speak on behalf of all the Ranters we will remember forever.”

The group was started in 2007 by Mr Johnstone to enlighten the lives of young people through music.

It now comes under the newly-established Music Partnership North, consisting of Northumberland County Council, Newcastle Music Service, Newcastle College and The Sage Gateshead.

“We were proud to represent our county and the band rose to the occasion, with standing ovations at every concert,” said Mr Johnstone.

On Saturday, the Northumbrian Ranters will perform its USA programme at Alnwick Playhouse as part of Trad Fest, which involves instrument taster sessions and concerts. For more information about the event, call 01670 624047.