Bucksburn Academy

Bucksburn Academy is a six year comprehensive school in Bucksburn, Aberdeen.

The school’s steelband has been running since 2005.

The first set of pans where bought from fund raising by the school. Since then the steelband has raised money with the support of parents to have a substantial set of pans consisting of four tenors, three double seconds, guitars, cellos and three bass.

The steelband is called Pandemic and was formed to give opportunities for all pupils to gain the experience of playing music in a band: Previously only pupils who got lessons on an orchestral or wind instrument were able to access this type of experience, but steel pans opened this up to anybody.

The original steelband had proved a great success and over the years the demand increased. More steelbands were introduced and there are now four different steelbands, S4/6, S2/3, S1 and S5. Each of the steelbands rehearse on a different day for an hour after school from 3.30 – 4.30pm.

The pupils are taught by Ms Milne (Principal Teacher of the faculty of Expressive and Performing Arts) and colleague Ms Robertson. Their achievement is mirrored by their pupils’ as they had no prior training or real knowledge about steelbands. Although they had the opportunity to play these instruments at university, they have also learned along with the students.

Pandemic performs at concerts in the school, around the community and in Aberdeen City events. The steelband also regularly performs at corporate events for oil companies and the like to raise funds to keep the band. Most recently Pandemic performed on a float parading through the streets to celebrate the switching on of the Xmas lights.

Because the steelband is so far north in Scotland it has been difficult to interact or network with other steelbands, leaving them quite isolated. However, this has not deterred them moving away from their comfort zone to seek new horizons:

In 2011, the steelband travelled to London and took part in a workshop led by CultureMix Arts Ltd. After that workshop they were invited to join Reading All Steel Percussion Orchestra (RASPO) in performing at the forthcoming UK Panorama competition and the Notting Hill Carnival. It is hoped that around 16 of their best players will be able to take part and the school is now furiously trying to raise the money to allow this to be possible.

The link that Pandemic now has with RASPO has created opportunities that would not have readily been available.

In 2014, the steelband changed its name to Bucksburn Academy Steel Orchestra (BASO).

Information and images supplied to My Panyard by Bucksburn Academy