Young musicians from Edinburgh & the Lothians are being given a unique opportunity to perform live at the globally renowned Celtic Connections folk festival.

Festival sponsor ScottishPower has launched its second Powerful Performance contest which encourages youngsters to celebrate their traditional musical heritage.

Last year’s inaugural competition proved to be extremely popular, with talented youngsters from all over the country taking part.  The judges were delighted with the response and are hoping for an enthusiastic uptake again this year.

Heather McDonald, Group Sponsorships Manager at ScottishPower, said:

“We have sponsored Celtic Connections since 2007 and last year we decided to see what home-grown talent is being nurtured in our schools and to give young people a chance to participate in the Festival.

“We were so pleased with the response to the competition, and the really high standard of entries we received, that we are delighted to launch the Powerful Performance again this year.”

The initiative invites S1 – S6 youngsters across the country to submit a short recording of traditional music using instruments, vocals, or a mixture of both.

Secondary schools interested in entering ScottishPower’s Powerful Performance are asked to submit one 4-5 minute recording of a melody or song, to a specially selected piece of music.

The judging panel at Celtic Connections and ScottishPower will release a choice of five traditional tunes which the bands can choose from to record their entry.

The winning group will perform at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in January 2011, as part of the final Education Concert of the festival, as well as the highly competitive Danny Kyle Open Stage competition, which the winner will automatically be entered into.

Heather continued:

“Last year we received an amazing range of entries and it was difficult to narrow the seven finalists down to one.  Considering that this was the inaugural year of the Powerful Performance schools competition, all the judges were pleasantly surprised by the high standards of all the schools who submitted recordings.

“The St Ninian’s High School Ceilidh Band was a worthy winner, demonstrating to the judges great musicality and musicianship.

“ScottishPower has a strong commitment to the arts in the UK through its sponsorship of Celtic Connections, as well as others. We encourage all communities, and in particular schools, to experience and enjoy the arts and we hope that schools across the country enjoy taking part in our challenge.”

Donald Shaw, Celtic Connections Artistic Director, said:

“At Celtic Connections we are dedicated to offering school pupils across Scotland the opportunity to experience Scottish cultural heritage through our education programme. The ScottishPower Powerful Performance complemented our education work at the 2010 festival perfectly, and we were proud to feature the St Ninian’s High School Ceilidh Band as part of the festival. The competition demonstrated that there are exceptionally talented young musicians in Scotland at the moment, and the calibre of entries was truly inspiring.

“We’re delighted that ScottishPower are once again supporting the festival in 2011and very much look forward to hosting the Powerful Performance.”

Celtic ConnectionsCeltic Connections brings artists from around the globe to perform in Glasgow each January and previous headline acts have included The Chieftains with Ry Cooder, which was a sell-out in 2010. ScottishPower is once again sponsoring the festival in 2011, which takes place between 13th and 31st January.

To register to take part in the ScottishPower Powerful Performance, please contact Nicola MacNaughton at the BIG Partnership, on 0141 333 9585 /

Celtic Connections
A shortlist of finalists will be decided by 8th November. The selected school group will perform at Celtic Connections on Friday 28th January 2010.