07 December 2014

Aims of the Scottish Fiddle Orchestra

Break during SFO Rehearsal, Perth High School – November 2014.

The SFO dates from 1980 and, in 2006, it became a company limited by guarantee.

You can find more information about the Orchestra on our “About” page.

Registered charity

The Orchestra is a registered charity.

This means that the Orchestra has to satisfy, and continue to abide by, the “charity test” which, in Scotland, requires that

  • The Orchestra has only charitable purposes, and
  • Its activities provide public benefit in Scotland or elsewhere

There is quite a number of possible charitable purposes and the ones the SFO concentrates on are-

  • The advancement of education. This can cover both formal education, such as that provided through schools and universities, and less formal education in the community. The SFO is more about education in the community.
  • The advancement of the arts, culture, heritage or science.

Constitutional aims

The aims of the SFO, in terms of its constitution are:

“The advancement of the education of the public in the art and science of music by

  • Establishing and running an orchestra
  • The promotion, improvement, development and encouragement of the public education in the performance of music with particular emphasis on Scottish music, through the presentation of public concerts, recitals and recorded works and by such other ways as the Board [of the orchestra] shall determine
  • To promote, encourage and preserve the heritage and culture of traditional Scottish music, particularly Scottish fiddle playing; and
  • Such other general purposes as the Board of Directors of the SFO shall determine in their absolute discretion.”

What this looks like in practice

So, although the Orchestra’s emphasis tends to be on fiddle playing and fiddle music, other instruments, such as cello, double bass, accordion and bagpipes also feature prominently.

We play mainly Scottish music but are heavily influenced by, and regularly feature, music from other related traditions – for example, Irish, Cape Breton and French-Canadian. Even within Scottish fiddle music, though regional distinctions have tended to become increasingly blurred, there are still unique features and proud heritage in the styles of playing found in Shetland, the West Highlands, and the North East.

And while the Orchestra is itself a charity, much of our focus over the last 30 years has been in raising funds for other charities.

The members of the SFO are diverse in terms of age, occupation and geographical location – united by their love of Scottish music and culture, and the fun of playing together as a group.  Out of a membership of 120 or so, there are still several founder members.