Donald MacLeod: Nordoff Robbins Scotland have been rockin’, rollin’ and changing lives for 20 years and I couldn’t be prouder

Annie Lennox is among the nominees at this year's awards (Johnny Vy/CBS via Getty Images)
Annie Lennox is among the nominees at this year's awards (Johnny Vy/CBS via Getty Images)

I will, along with my wife Pauline and nearly 1,000 other guests be attending the 20th – yes folks, the 20th – SSE Scottish Music Awards at the SEC Campus in Glasgow on Saturday.

It only seems like yesterday when I, along with a few other like-minded and dedicated committee members of the newly-founded charity Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland, decided to hold our first major fundraiser and awards ceremony, with no live music on offer, and with only 100 people in attendance at Glasgow’s City Chambers.

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Well, there has been plenty of fun over these past 20 years, I can tell you, mixed in, of course, with a few tears and moments of profound sadness.

Which is to be expected, I suppose, when, through a mixture of both fortune and fate, I rose to become this brilliant charity’s volunteer chairman, garrulous spokesman, advocate and main driving force. A role I took very seriously and look back on with a mixture of immense pride and satisfaction.

In my tenure as chair over these two decades, the charity has truly blossomed. Starting with one small base in Roslin, with a handful of therapists on its books, Nordoff Robbins Scotland now has 14 fully-trained music therapists who deliver more than 5,000 sessions to people aged from one to 100 around central Scotland, in schools, community settings and, of course, at centres in Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Fife.

Helping individuals with a range of physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs. Transforming and changing thousands of lives through the magical power of music.

So, you can tell, I am more than a little chuffed at my role in the growth of the charity and the fantastic services it provides, and so proud of the efforts of the many talented people who have offered their services, volunteered and given up their spare time, either at committee level or on the ground, to help with promotion and raise the vital funds required to run a growing charity.

I am also indebted to so many bands, artists, comics and managers. Scotland’s vibrant music industry has, over the years, continually answered the call and given something back.

Household names such as Annie Lennox, Biffy Clyro, Emeli Sande, The Skids, Wet Wet Wet, Nicola Benedetti, Horse, Dougie MacLean, Bay City Rollers, Barbara Dickson, Paulo Nutini, Hipsway, Eddi Reader, Texas, Shirley Manson and The Bluebells.

Others including Stephanie Cheape, The LaFontaines, Frightened Rabbit and Mogwai, to name but a very, very few, spring to mind, but it’s impossible to list everyone whom I must thank and for that I apologise.

So the past 20 years has been a bit of a rock and roller-coaster for me and everyone else involved in the growth of the charity and the Scottish Music Awards.

But a fantastic journey all the same, one that I am so glad to have been part of and one which continues on an epic scale next Saturday at the SEC Campus.

Susan Boyle, Amy Macdonald, Snow Patrol, Kyle Falconer, Mark Knopfler and Tom Grennan will all be playing live.

What a party this promises to be. Let’s make every note count.