Take two strong themes.

1. Music is vital to everyone.
2. Some of Scotland’s communities have been ravaged by economic development.

Sir James MacMillan is a Cumnock lad. It’s a community badly affected by the second theme, post coal mining especially. Sir James (or to many just Jimmy) makes music like few other Scots in tune with the first theme. As a consequence, his wife Lady Lynne and he set up the Cumnock Tryst designed to deliver music and commerce and life into Cumnock, New Cumnock, Auchinleck and their hinterland, in a Festival of remarkable music each early October. It’s not just music per se and it’s not just performance. There are musical concerts but there is also dance and there are talks about books on music. There is also active involvement with the schoolchildren of the area and young students in performance and in the issue of free tickets to concerts for youngsters and locals.

Jimmy has been doing this for about five years and he has at least the next two Trysts in his head already. He commands the presence of spectacular musicians and they say “yes Jimmy” just because his captivating personality makes “no” very difficult. Nicola Benedetti is our Patron and she too has a terrific track record in supporting Scotland’s children in music.

I have taken on the chairing of the Tryst from Lynne but we still have immediate access to her wealth of knowledge on this project and we now have a new Festival Director in Jean Nicolson who has brought her brilliant skills to the Tryst.

If you love music, you should certainly come along( www.cumnocktryst.com) but, even if you are not sure about that, and you would just like to glimpse an example of how to help out your old home town then get down to Cumnock area in October. It’s no use just talking about it!