Access Song for Haddo 2020: Fables and Foibles on YouTube

Event Information

Songs by Moira Morrison & Instrumental Music by Peter Kemp


A Song for Haddo is back but not as we know it… 

Watch the full performance at the Haddo Arts Festival 2020 here

In a challenging world where both singing and playing wind instruments have been restricted due to the Covid-19 pandemic, our McOpera composers and musicians have once more been working and performing alongside children, young people, tutors and teachers from Aberdeenshire’s schools (joined by East Lothian children’s choir Dunbar Voices) to create a project celebrating music-making! 

Following a specially devised series of pre-recorded videos, masterclass sessions and musical tracks for the classroom and at home, a cast of 148 singers, wind and string players have taken part in an exciting online musical re-telling of 7 of Aesop’s fables, the culmination of this year’s Haddo Arts Festival 2020.

Taken from the series of paintings in Haddo House and depicting scenes from Aesop’s timeless fables, these stories inspire us to keep our heads, learn about ourselves and respond creatively to challenging times amidst frenetic social media activity and advancing technology – something which our Hare in particular finds very difficult to do! 

In the final piece of Fables and Foibles, the performers are joined by singers and string players from previous projects in a massed orchestration of A Song for Haddo written for the first project back in 2017.

Download the programme for the performance here

A Song for Haddo 2020: Fables and Foibles is supported by: Udny Community Trust Company Ltd and David & June Gordon Memorial Trust and the paintings are reproduced by kind permission of the National Trust for Scotland.

Performed by the musicians of the McOpera Ensemble with singers and instrumentalists from

New Deer Primary School
Pitmedden Primary School
Rayne North Primary School
Dunbar Voices
Alford Academy
Ellon Academy
Inverurie Academy
Kemnay Academy
Meldrum Academy
Westhill Academy 

With huge thanks to all the parents and the Aberdeenshire teaching staff from the schools and tutors from the Instrumental Music Service, without whom this project could not have happened!

Audio by Mark Neal Music @markguitarmusic
Video by Roddy Simpson
Produced by Sue Baxendale

Facebook links:  @mcoperascot @haddoarts

Biography Information

McOpera was formed in the spring of 2012 by musicians from The Orchestra of Scottish Opera, Scotland’s only fully professional opera orchestra, to provide and generate a range of artistically exciting and diverse work in Scotland. Since that time, it has developed a wide portfolio of activity ranging from operatic productions, to bespoke recording projects, orchestral performances and community outreach projects across a wide social and cultural demographic.

Recent operatic activity includes the premiere performance of An Cadal Trom, a community opera commissioned by and performed at the Lammermuir Festival 2018, the critically acclaimed (5 star) production of Britten’s community opera Noye’s Fludde (Lammermuir Festival 2016) and the world premiere of Scottish composer Erik Chisholm’s opera Simoon (Cottier Chamber Project 2015, released as a live performance on Delphian label in November 2016).Music Co-

Peter Kemp is a performing musician, composer, conductor and music therapist.

A former member of the RSNO, he was the Community Music Coordinator and Lecturer on the University of Strathclyde’s BA (Applied Music) and BA (Community Arts) degrees, and holds both an MMus in Composition (Royal Conservatoire of Scotland) and an MSc in Music Therapy (Queen Margaret University). He has written 13 children’s operas, most recently The Milngavie Tales for East Dunbartonshire Children’s Chorus and Youth Choir (McOpera Outreach/ Milngavie Music Club).

Moira Morrison (McOpera Outreach: composer and vocal coach) studied music at Newcastle University where she majored in composition. She gained her Master’s degree in musical directing and conducting in 2010, culminating in a performance art piece premiered at the Sage Gateshead, which she also composed. Moira has conducted and directed Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd, Bernstein’s West Side Story and Kurt Weill’s Mahagonny Songspiel, delivered workshops for Streetwise Opera and vocal coached for Joseph, the King and I and Evita. 

 Moira has composed and directed for original youth theatre and chamber opera pieces, written for physical theatre and contemporary circus productions and currently works for the National Youth Choir of Scotland in various capacities; running songwriting projects, teaching musicianship and directing the singing groups in Dunbar. Moira’s unique style of musical directing is fuelled by her fascination in the relationship between music and movement and the Kodaly method of music education. She has recently created Scotland’s first juggling choir – Circus Voices – which she directs and writes for. Moira is the chorus master for the Dunbar Children’s Choir.

Event Details

Thursday 8th October 2020 7:30 pm

Admission Free

Venue: Haddo Arts YouTube Channel

Venue URL:

Access Song for Haddo 2020: Fables and Foibles on YouTube