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History 1990-1999

1990 was to host several particularly significant concerts and it began when the Cancer Relief organisation asked Ensemble to provide the entertainment at a charity evening being hosted by Sir Nicholas and Lady Fairbairn at their home in Fordell Castle. A discussion between the hostess, a representative from the organisation and one from the group went smoothly despite Ensemble's Administrator kicking his tea cup over on to the carpet!

The evening of 30th June duly arrived and, on the short journey from the house to the chapel, the heavens opened and everyone was drenched. How apposite that the group should sing excerpts from Showboat - "the roof is leakin' in"! In his vote of thanks Sir Nicholas described Ensemble as "truly wondersome" and everyone retired happily to the house for a sumptuous supper. An evening never to be forgotten.

In August of that year Ensemble appeared for the first time on the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in the splendid setting of St. Andrew's and St. George's Church right in the centre of the city in George Street. Thus a long and happy association with St. Andrew's and St. George's Church and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe began as every year since that debut performance Ensemble has given a one night concert on the Fringe.

Glasgow was the capital city of European culture in that year too and Ensemble was invited to give its first performance in Scotland's Second City in St. Mary's Cathedral in support of the International Flat.

1991 was the Diamond Jubilee of the NTS and in honour of this event Ensemble wrote its own words to The Champagne Chorus from Johann Strauss II's operetta Die Fledermaus.

1991 and 1992 saw an ever-widening range of groups supported with charity concerts. A local organisation, the Twelve Group, asked Ensemble to give a concert with funds being raised for Riding School for the Disabled and a magnificent £1000 sum was raised. A youngster taking part in Operation Raleigh was supported in Kirkcaldy as were the organisation who produce a Newstape for the Blind and the RSPCC (now Children First), in what was, for several years, to become an annual event on the first weekend in December in Leven.

During this time Ensemble ventured further afield, to Dunning in Perthshire, to the Grouse and Claret Hotel in Kinross and to different venues in Edinburgh.

Closer to home, Ensemble performed for the first time at a third NTS property in Fife - the chapel of Falkland Palace. The NTS properties have a unique atmosphere. On a future visit the group were performing scenes from Donizetti's opera Mary Stuart. In the drawing room where the group assembled and close to the door through which they were to enter hangs the portrait shown here of Mary Queen of Scots.


1993 proved to be another major year. 3 concerts to celebrate the tenth anniversary were given on the weekend of 11th -13th June at Kellie Castle, the Beveridge Suite of the Adam Smith Theatre in Kirkcaldy and at St. Andrew's and St.George's Church, Edinburgh for the Scottish Society for Autistic Children. The 100th concert (8th December in the Staff Club of Edinburgh University for Greenbank Parish Church) was clocked up in amongst 14 concerts in 1993 - the busiest year ever.

10th Anniversary concert at St. Andrew's and St. George's Church, Edinburgh

Most notable amongst the 1994 and 1995 concerts were those in support of the HPCT Handicapped Children's Pilgrimmage Trust (Kirkcaldy, September 1994), Friends of Kirkcaldy Art Gallery and Museum (Kirkcaldy, March 1995), Cochlear Implant Support Group (Jordanhill Church, Glasgow, May 1995) and LUPUS (Kirkcaldy, May 1995). It was in December of 1995 that Ensemble first gave a concert in the delightful and sadly underused Buckhaven Theatre.

May 1996 saw Ensemble perform at the Lochgelly Centre and June heralded a return visit to Glasgow, but these were short journeys in comparison to July's adventure which saw Ensemble head to Germany for the first time (see German Connection). Concerts later that year and in 1997 included local events in Kirkcaldy, those that had become annual events and, in February 1997, a concert in support of Markinch Amateur Operatic Society.

January 1998 took Ensemble to Pitlochry and a Sunday afternoon concert in the Green Park Hotel in support of HCPT. Over the next two years the Lochgelly Centre, Markinch Town Hall and St. Peter's Church in Kirkcaldy were among venues revisited, as was Jordanhill Church in Glasgow and, as the 20th century came to an end, Ensemble had performed over 150 concerts.

Read Ensemble's history in the 2000s or Return to the history page