11th January 2008 at 00:00
The bad news is that all 40 of the free schools workshops being held during this year's Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow are fully subscribed. The good news is that there is still some availability at the eight schools concerts taking place in the 2,000-seater main auditorium of the Royal Concert Hall between January 16 and February 1.

The free concerts, featuring eight different headline acts and supporting performers appearing in the mainstream festival, are geared to three age groups: nursery to P3; P4-S2 and P4-S6 with shows for the younger ones starting at 10am and an hour later for older pupils.

Also "guesting" at three of the concerts are pupils from Glasgow schools who have taken part in Celtic Connections workshops held throughout the year.

Some of the big name acts appearing in the 2008 schools concerts programme include American gospel singer Josh White; Alison Brown with Joe Craven who will demonstrate that even umbrella stands and waste paper bins can be used to produce music; and Scotland's one and only Celtic big band, The Unusual Suspects.

The festival's education and outreach manager, Tom Dalzell (formerly a saxophone player with The Tartan Amoebas), says: "This year is the 10th anniversary of our schools programme and in that time more than 120,000 pupils have taken part in concerts and workshops. The workshops that we hold in schools during the festival, offering taster sessions in singing, instruments, storytelling and dancing, are particularly popular. This year bookings started coming in within 20 minutes of the official email going out and we could have filled places three times over.

"Workshops are confined to Glasgow schools but the concerts are open to pupils everywhere and last year they attracted attendances from 17 different local authorities."

- www.celticconnections.com

T 0141 353 8000.

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