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History 2000-2009

In June of 2000 Ensemble performed for the first time at the Erskine Church in Burntisland as a prelude to a second visit, but this time on their own, to Glenrothes' twin town, Boblingen, near Stuttgart in Germany (see German Connection).

2001 saw a return visit after a gap of some years to a Fife NTS property, the Chapel Royal in Falkland Palace, and finished with a concert in the Old Kirk in Kirkcaldy in aid of Maggie's Appeal which was raising money for a cancer care centre attached to the Victoria Hospital in Kirkcaldy.

Members of the RSNO Chorus called on Ensemble to help them fund-raise for an overseas tour and this led to a 2002 concert (20th April) in South Giffnock Parish Church. There were return visits in that year to Falkland Palace (twice), the Erskine Church (Burntisland), St. Andrew's and St.George's Church for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe concert, Leven Parish Church, formerly Scoonie Kirk, and Markinch Town Hall. In the summer Ensemble shared a concert in the Rothes Halls, Glenrothes, with a visiting choir from Boblingen and finished the year back in the Old Kirk to support the Friends of Kirkcaldy Art Gallery and Museums.

The twentieth anniversary was celebrated in 2003 at concerts given in St Bryce Kirk, Kirkcaldy in June and at Leven Parish Church in September while 2004 saw Ensemble give a first concert in Auchterarder, take part in the centenary celebrations for Leven Parish Church and help fund raise for the RNLI in a December concert in Aberdour.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre - as we see it in November/December!

A concert in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre the last weekend in November was another first as a Victorian theme day to celebrate the switching on of the Christmas tree lights in the town was brought to a conclusion.

Pitlochry Festival Theatre foyer - where we have performed

February 2005 was a particularly busy month for the group. First they took part in a concert in Rosslyn Chapel organised by Romantic Renaissance Ltd. on the eve of the 400th anniversary of the death of Mary Queen of Scots. In this beautiful and atmospheric setting Ensemble presented two costumed scenes from Donizetti's opera Maria Stuarda which captured the mood perfectly.

A quiet number in the Tsunami concert in Kirkcaldy

A fortnight later Ensemble took part in a major fund-raising Tsunami concert in Kirkcaldy. This was a concert involving mostly pop and rock bands where Ensemble fulfilled that age old adage "...and now for something completely different"!

Tsunami concert (Kirkcaldy) - Cats

A week later Ensemble travelled to Hyndland School in Glasgow to perform their Murder Mystery (see Programmes) in order to assist in the fund-raising efforts of a young man making a trip to a remote Himalayan village in a project to build a school.

Concerts in April in Edinburgh and in June in Kirkcaldy to celebrate the 150th anniversary of Trinity Bowling Club and to support the Mid-fife newstape for the Blind were the prelude to a third visit to Boblingen (see German Connection). The first of these concerts at the Hegel-Gymnasium (School) in Stuttgart registered Ensemble's 200th performance. September saw a return visit to the NTS property at Hill of Tarvit House with "The Deadly Medley" while November again saw Ensemble performing in the Pitlochry Festival Theatre and giving a debut performance of "The New Vicar" (see Programmes).

2006 began with a concert in late March for the Friends of the Byre Theatre in St. Andrews and included another performance of "The Deadly Medley". This work was repeated the following month when Ensemble provided the entertainment at the Kirkcaldy Music Society's AGM. Return visits to the Erskine Church in Burntisland, to St. Andrew's and St. George's Church in Edinburgh as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to Hill of Tarvit House and to the Pitlochry Festival Theatre were followed by a first ever performance at the Church of Scotland in Freuchie. Here a new minister, Rev Dr George Nicol, had recently been inaugurated and the concert was organised to help raise funds for the Manse. What better piece to perform than "The New Vicar"?

Burntisland 2006

Ivor

A return visit to support the Friends of the Byre Theatre in St. Andrews in April was the first concert of 2007 and was followed by, at the suggestion of the NTS representative at Hill of Tarvit House, An Evening with Ivor Novello (see Programmes) on June 9th. This concert was repeated again at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in August to Ensemble's biggest Festival audience for some years, just short of 200.

One audience member who had never heard the group before wrote to say:

" It was simply wonderful to hear the music of Ivor Novello once again after so many years. Ensemble sang beautifully. It was a magical evening enjoyed by us all."

In the winter of 2007 the Novello programme was repeated at Leven Parish Church, Freuchie Parish Church and at Pitlochry Festival Theatre where we once again supported the Lawside Romania Project.

The Novello evening continued to be presented in 2008: at the Erskine Church in Burntisland, and as half concerts at the Kirkcaldy Music Society AGM and at the Glenrothes Inner Wheel 50th Anniversary celebration. In May, Ensemble once again supported the Friends of the Byre Theatre in St. Andrews. This time the performance was in the Byre Theatre itself, and to a sell-out audience.

2008 was also the twenty-fifth anniversary of Ensemble and with the support of Lottery Funding, Ensemble commissioned a new piece from the writers of “The Deadly Medley”, Iain Wotherspoon and David Watson. “Come Spy With Me” was set in a quaint little village somewhere in England with war raging and involved the hunt for missing plans that would bring world peace. The first anniversary concert was given on 21st June in the church hall of Abbotshall Church in Kirkcaldy and in support of the Mid-Fife Newstape for the Blind. “Come Spy With Me” was given its world premiere and the second half consisted of a series of medleys from favourites over the first 25 years and over 220 concerts. After the summer further performances were given at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, at Hill of Tarvit House, in Leven Parish Church and at the Church of Scotland in Freuchie, and at the Pitlochry Festival Theatre in support of the Lawside Romania project.

The Anniversary Concert was given one final airing in March of 2009 at a new venue – Strathmiglo. The success of the Novello evenings two years previously led the group to try something in a similar vein and this time they chose Irving Berlin. As usual, the first of these concerts was given as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in St Andrew’s and St. George’s Church. Further Irving Berlin concerts in the last quarter of the year took Ensemble back to their favourite haunts: Leven Parish Church, Freuchie, Pitlochry Festival Theatre and Hill of Tarvit House. Sadly, with NTS funding severely stretched, Hill of Tarvit House was due to close to the public and this was likely to be Ensemble’s last concert at this venue, although hopefully the group may be able to return one day in the not too distant future. And so the 3rd decade of Ensemble came to close with a staggering total of 235 performances having been clocked up!

Read Ensemble's history in the 2010s or Return to the history page