A Musical Journey
The Elgin Strathspey & Reel Society is a Scottish Fiddle Orchestra dedicated to promoting Traditional music.
The society is conducted by Stephen Cooper and plays in many concerts in the local area as well as making trips abroad to promote its music.
The society was formed in early October, 1936 by Joe Murray, Bishopmill and its debut concert was at the Masonic Hall in Elgin in aid of funds for the Elgin Y.W.C.A. on 17th October, 1936. The society went into abeyance in 1939 and it wasn't until October, 1946 after demob that practices resumed. The society went into abeyance for the second time in the early 1950's.
Elgin Strathspey & Reel Society re-emerged on the music scene in Moray early in 1970 under the guidance of the late Mr Willie MacPherson - who had returned to Elgin after several years as a violinist with the Scottish National Orchestra and the late Mr Bill Brian. Willie took on the role of Musical Director and Bill was given the role of leader of the Orchestra.
Bill then took over as Musical Director from 1974 - 1983. When Bill Brian stepped down from the role of Musical Director in 1983 it was the turn of John Winton to take the helm.
John's friendly manner encouraged new players to join the Society and the Orchestra continued to triumph at music festivals in Kirriemuir, Banchory & Elgin amongst others. His sudden death in 1993 was deeply felt.
The role then passed back to Bill Brian and he was to remain Musical Director until his untimely death in March 2011. Bill had such a stage presence and manner about him and the Society's annual Fiddlers' Rally attracted players from all over Scotland to attend and perform under Bill's direction. His untimely death is still felt deeply through the Society to this day and he left a legacy that is very hard to follow. Bill devoted 27 years to the Society and his commitment and leadership over those years was a major factor in the growth and success of the Society.
Ena Brian joined the Society in the early 1990's as the official accompanist and after Bill's death in March 2011 she took over the reins as Musical Director. Her aim was to maintain the high standard Bill expected of the Orchestra, drawing on the legacy he left whilst introducing some of her own ideas. Ena continued as Musical Director until 2018 when she decided to pursue a life in Spain. Ena was dedicated to the society over the years and gave up much of her time to help the orchestra grow.
Our current conductor is Stephen Cooper, who has a vast experience in music. Stephen brings a wealth of music experience to enhance the orchestra.