To Absent Friends launches with RSNO concert

A festival of storytelling and remembrance

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TO ABSENT FRIENDS, a festival of storytelling and remembrance, launches on Thursday 29 October at 6pm with MUSIC OF MEMORIES, a special concert by school pupils alongside musicians from the ROYAL SCOTTISH NATIONAL ORCHESTRA (RSNO) at its new home in Glasgow Royal Concert Hall. The concert, featuring children from communities across Scotland, marks the start of To Absent Friends, which aims to revive traditions of remembering the dead to help those dealing with grief and bereavement.

Music for the concert has been composed by the children themselves, working with professional musicians from the RSNO and is inspired by stories shared by local care home residents of their ‘absent friends’ – loved ones who are dead but whose stories live on. Children have also drawn on their own experiences of loss and bereavement. On the evening, school pupils and the RSNO will play side by side. The work between the schools and the RSNO has been made possible by a community grant from the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The RSNO concert is the first of many events taking place across Scotland for To Absent Friends between 1 and 7 November, including concerts, poetry evenings, theatre shows, workshops and exhibitions. As well as these public events, individuals and groups are encouraged to hold their own remembrances  – maybe by gathering family together to reminisce, sharing photos and stories on the To Absent Friends website, or doing something as simple as lighting a candle.

Mark Hazelwood, Chief Executive of the Scottish Partnership for Palliative Care, who are behind the festival, said:

“We are delighted to be able to launch To Absent Friends with the RSNO. The concert is a great way to bring people of all ages together to remember loved ones. Most of us have lost someone, but our culture doesn't really support active remembrance of dead people. It can cause discomfort or embarrassment. We hope, with events like this, to change that, and help to reduce some of the isolation and suffering that bereavement brings.”

The concert will also be streamed into care homes around Scotland.

To Absent Friends: Music of Memories is at the New Auditorium, RSNO Centre, Glasgow on Thursday 29th October at 6pm

Tickets: £10

Online booking: www.rsno.org.uk

Telephone booking: 0141 353 8000