For the sixth year running, children from Primary 6, Primary 7 and S1 at Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools (ESMS) performed as the official Children’s Choir at The Royal Edinburgh Military Tattoo throughout August.
Another dimension was added to the experience this year, when ESMS welcomed 20 girls from the Edinburgh Girls’ School in Malawi and their teachers to Edinburgh.
For each of the 26 shows, the girls from Malawi performed with 20 girls from The Mary Erskine School on the Edinburgh Castle Esplanade. The EGHS represented Malawi for the first time ever at the Tattoo, opening the show each night with a rousing Malawian chant. The girls came together to perform in the finale, singing Amazing Grace and Auld Lange Syne alongside the rest of the Tattoo cast, and performing a huge Strip the Willow dance together!
The girls were hosted for three weeks by MES girls and their parents, an enormous commitment which the girls were very grateful for but an enriching experience. Together, they enjoyed day trips and cultural visits around Edinburgh and further afield in Scotland. All of the girls enjoyed learning about differing languages, cultures, and dance moves, exchanging stories and experiences.
Our Director of Development, Bryan Lewis, said “My colleagues and I are very proud of all 40 of the girls who have reinforced to us the importance of the shared hopes and dreams of young people everywhere.”
Travel costs of the Malawian party were generously covered by the Tattoo Board, while dedicated staff, pupils and parents all supported fundraising efforts over the last year to raise funds for the rest of the girls’ stay.
Above all, the experience was life-changing and humbling for all involved and lifelong friendships were created as a result of this unique experience. Megan H (S6) said that they all became “like sisters”, and friendships have continued across continents thanks to the wonder of WhatsApp and social media.
A group of MES girls will visit Malawi during their October break and the ties between ESMS and The Edinburgh Girls’ School in Malawi will continue to thrive and strengthen. Bryan Lewis summarised that “colleagues will use the inspiration we have all felt to ensure the effect of what has been achieved will last for many years to come”.