We’re just beginning to recover from the Trust’s big funding event – the MGT - the Mull Grand Traverse - which really was a spectacular success. There were over 90 participants who literally immersed themselves in Mull’s beautiful landscape. Many more came over to Mull for the experience which included a great night of music, feasting and fireworks. An amazing 26 people managed to get to the Platinum finish (that’s close to 30 miles cycling and 30 running/hiking/splashing through bogs/clambering up mountainsides).
The winning team, Nice but Tim, included Rory Pierce - one of Martyn’s best friends and collaborators. There was a really friendly atmosphere and amazing buzz for the whole event, intensified by the impending storm that we knew was sweeping in from the Atlantic, to make landfall in the evening, when some hardy souls were still out there to battle against the horizontal rain. The weather had been bright and sunny until then and the storm made the adventure truly epic.
There are so many people to thank - starting with Richard Kellett, the MGT organiser and driving force. So many people made the event happen on a purely voluntary basis. We’ll update the website properly soon with these "Thank-You's" and also how much we have managed to raise for both the Martyn Bennett Trust and for Marie Curie Cancer Care. We thought that in this little pause and recovery time, it might be a good time to write a bit about what’s happening in the MBT and what our plans are.
NB. The 2009 Mull Grand Traverse will be on 22nd August 2009.
A quick recap of some of the main things in the last year - at the end of October last year we held Martyn Bennett Day (October 27th). This involved a day of workshops for young people at Martyn’s old school (City of Edinburgh Music School) by some of Scotland’s most creative musicians and dancers. This was followed up a fantastic concert at the Queen’s Hall in Edinburgh. It’s hard to describe this event - so if you weren’t there, Sue Wilson’s review gives a good idea. In both the workshops and the concert we wanted to capture Martyn’s creative and inspirational spirit, and the musicians rose to the challenge - from the students of the City of Edinburgh Music School and the Flying Fiddles from Uist, to our illustrious guests who performed brand new works commissioned for the event. In addition to the commissions and individual performances, the evening provided an opportunity for Cuillin Music to play with original band members and special guests. Martyn Bennett Day wouldn’t have been possible without the extraordinary help of lots of amazing people - like Tom Bancroft, Martin Swan, Jamie (Lips McGinty) Hale and the Scottish Arts Council, who gave us both ideas and financial support.
Meanwhile, in Argentina, the Martyn Bennett Trust has been supporting the Fundacion Emmanuel and the Buenos Aires Conservatory Orchestra for the project 'Emmanuel-Puentes'. This was such a success that we have decided to continue funding the project to build on the success of last year and also so that the young people involved can keep working with the tutors from the University.
We have also been supporting a project that Annawendy Stevenson is running with the Flying Fiddles on Benbecula. The MBT is supporting the Flying Fiddles to work directly with some of Uist’s most renowned musicians - giving them a real opportunity to be inspired and to learn.
We were delighted by McFalls Chamber's Aye Tunes Tour – "Aye, an Affirmation of Martyn Bennett" which toured all over Scotland and also filled the Spiegeltent during the Fringe.
The MGT has taken all of our energies over the last few months. It was such a brilliant event and we’ll be doing it again next year (dates). We feel that there is a great deal of potential for the MGT to be an annual event that will grow and develop. We’re planning to take forward the musical side of the event even further. This year we were lucky enough to have the superb Sorren MacLean and DJ Dolphin Boy performing - and we’d like to build on this and make the MGT a mini festival that will attract people for the event and the music, as well as the vibe and the craic!
In the year ahead in addition to the Argentina project, we will be looking at a few new project ideas - both in Scotland and overseas. We will be looking to support excellent projects that reach young people and which inspire them to discover, rediscover and be creative with traditional/indigenous music. It will be especially important for us to support projects that reach young people who might not otherwise have the opportunity and which make connections that otherwise might not happen.
It’s also about time for another concert...
We have received so much support since the Martyn Bennett Trust started just over three years ago and we’d like to take the opportunity to say a big THANK YOU! Martyn’s vision still continues to inspire!