Today is Giving Tuesday, ‘a day set aside for people to shun commercialism and support good causes’. 

By no coincidence, it is also the day on which St Mary’s Music School has opted to release a short animated film supporting the message: ‘Whatever the Season … please support St Mary’s Music School.’  

It’s rather charming, and you can view it HERE.

Mixed motives

The film is at one level an effort to raise money for St Mary’s Bursary Fund, which, along with Scottish Government funding, pays for the majority of its 77 musically gifted students to benefit from specialist education. St Mary’s is keen to point out that it is open to all talented individuals, regardless of financial means.

At another level, the film is the latest salvo in a cannily conceived and well-executed barrage of public relations advancing St Mary’s claim on the old Royal High School as the site for a new campus and public performance venue. 

St Mary’s already has planning permission for a mixture of preservation, refurbishment and development here, but Duddingston House Properties and the Urbanist Group have first option on an alternative commercial use of the site as a 6-star luxury hotel with jug ‘ears’. The latters two unsuccessful applications for this are currently the subject of appeals to the Scottish Government.

Public relations, persuasiveness, the cultural mood music are important now and will become increasingly so as the rival visions are evaluated not only by Planning professionals but politicians. Spurtle will gladly report DHP and UGs charm offensive as and when we become aware of it.

Talented and creative

For the record, the animation released today features a performance of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons ‘Winter’ Largo by St Mary’s students, particularly former pupil Emma Baird, who is now at the Royal Academy of Music in London.

The animation, by Scott McHenry, is based on a painting of the school by Colin Povey (below), which situates the structure at the heart of a broader, interconnected and uninterrupted complex of monumental structures and urban greenery.

For previous Spurtle coverage of the old Royal High School debacle, START HERE.


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