John Leitch – Course Director, String Orchestra
John studied ‘cello in Glasgow with Grace Dick and spent his working life teaching in Ayrshire (in all of its administrative variants). He was delighted to be asked by Ronnie Walker to become involved in the 1st WSSSO season in the autumn of 1996. The orchestra and concert band were inspired by the previous Strathclyde Ensembles, which had ceased to exist on the demise of the then Regional Council.
“I knew that there existed huge potential within the 12 Local Authorities for a return to the unique performance and life changing opportunities my own children had enjoyed in the Strathclyde Schools Symphony Orchestra. Little did I suspect at that time I would still be involved 20 years later and would have witnessed the regrowth and subsequent success of all the groups. What started as the Symphony Orchestra and Concert Band has now developed almost beyond recognition, with the introduction of the Training Ensembles. The key to success in the training groups is in providing a stepping stone from school towards the WSSSO and WSSCB, where the unique atmosphere of West can be accessed without formal audition. An audition can be daunting and the opportunity to be involved in, and benefit from, an ensemble of this standard is not always available within an individual school.
As Course Director for the String Training Orchestra it is an honour and privilege to be involved in the promotion of the cultural and personal benefits of instrumental music to our young people. “