RSNO to perform at Refugee Festival Scotland 2024 in celebration of New Scots - Royal Scottish National Orchestra
RSNO to perform at Refugee Festival Scotland 2024 in celebration of New Scots

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RSNO to perform at Refugee Festival Scotland 2024 in celebration of New Scots Posted Thu 23 May 2024

RSNO to perform at Refugee Festival Scotland 2024 in celebration of New Scots

The Royal Scottish National Orchestra (RSNO) returns to the Scottish Refugee Festival for a family-friendly concert celebrating how singing groups have supported New Scots to flourish. The Festival, which runs from 14-23 June 2024, celebrates the resilience and courage of New Scots and their contribution to the Scottish cultural landscape.

‘Raising Voices’ brings together three unique Glasgow-based choirs with culturally diverse memberships – Joyous Choir (Maryhill), Soloway Choir (Springburn) and Harper African Voice (Govan) – which include singers who are New Scots, from other migrant backgrounds or from their wider local communities. An 18-piece ensemble from the RSNO will be joined by the three choirs and performances introduced by poet Tawona Sitholé with new musical arrangements by Jon Hargreaves. The concert will take place on Saturday 22 June in the New Auditorium of the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall and explore the Festival’s theme: RISE.

RSNO Director of Engagement Andy Stevenson said: “It’s a real privilege to return to the Scottish Refugee Festival to perform with these amazing choirs and artists. We strive to engage with the people of Scotland in every possible way and working with New Scots to invest in our shared culture is an honour. Music reaches beyond geographical and language barriers in a unique way and I can’t wait to join everyone at the Raising Voices event for an afternoon of celebrating our connections.”

The concert follows a succession of events by Scotland’s National Orchestra celebrating refugee composers and artists, including: ‘…a thing with feathers’ in partnership with the Scottish Refugee Council, SWG3 and Maryhill Integration Network at the Refugee Festival 2023; an evening with Igor Saienko, Ukrainian accordion and bandoneon player, in November 2023 at The Pyramid at Anderston and a celebration held in Edinburgh’s Pianodrome on Ukrainian Independence Day in 2022.

Tickets for Raising Voices are on sale and available here.

The RSNO is pleased to partner with Fanzclub CIC to enable marginalised communities, including refugees and asylum seekers, to access free tickets to this performance.


Concert information

Saturday 22 June 2024, 3pm

Joyous Choir

Soloway Choir

Harper African Voice

Musicians from RSNO

Jon Hargreaves Conductor

Tawona Sitholé Presenter


About the choirs

Since 2013, MIN’s Joyous Choir has used singing to support social inclusion, and improve wellbeing, in a welcoming and creative space.

The choir welcomes participants from diverse backgrounds including women who are seeking asylum and refuge in Glasgow, as well as those born and raised in the city. The group shares songs from different cultures, and often sing about themes such as friendship, protest, sisterhood, dreams, freedom and hope.


The Harper African Voice is a Christian worship choir based in Harper Memorial Baptist Church, Glasgow.  The choir was set up over two years ago by Lawrence Jah, with a present membership of nineteen people.

People from various walks of life such as asylum seekers, international students, health sector workers and so forth, constitute membership of the choir.  Membership also comprises individuals from predominantly African backgrounds, with some from other nations. This therefore affirms the inter-cultural composition of the congregation of over 35 nations.

The choir members lead the congregation to worship God in an African style, on the second Sunday of every month.


The Soloway Choir was born in November 2022, when Bozhena Yakymenko gathered a group of Ukrainian women who had recently arrived in Glasgow to sing Christmas carols. The choir has been growing steadily since then, as many other Ukrainians are enthusiastic to join.

Soloway has performed at several charity concerts and was invited to sing at an event organised by AUGB Glasgow in George Square this year to mark the second anniversary since the start of the war. The main goal of Soloway is to encourage everyone and share in a message of solidarity: that there is light at the end of every tunnel and we need to be shoulders for one another.

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