As well as organising a series of arts focused events and performances, the Wester Hailes Festival Association aimed to foster talent and encouraged people to express themselves through a variety of medium. Poetry and creative writing were a regular feature on the pages of the Sentinel. Recognising that children’s creative efforts were an obvious attraction over the Christmas period, children’s writing like the following two examples was featured in several Christmas editions.
Jack is here anew
He’s come to give us all the flu
His coat is silver
His eyes are gold
He gives us all a nasty cold
Angie Merray (December 1979)
“It was Christmas Eve and all the children were in their beds.
Santa wasn’t in bed, he was looking through all the long
lists that had been sent to him.
One of the lists was from the Wilson family and there was
Joanne and Gary and Lee and Gary and Jayce and the last one was Samuel.
“Oh they have been very good so I will give them lots of presents” said Santa and so he did.
On Christmas Day they opened their presents and Gary got a palaeontology suit. Gary put his suit on and the very next month he went to Sky where he found lots of dinosaur bones which made him happy.”
Gary Wilson aged 7 (December 1997)
But people of all ages were encouraged to contribute and particularly in the earlier Sentinels, the Kaleidoscope page gave space to poetry by local residents, some of whom were part of the Wester Hailes Writers Co-op. A good example is the Kaleidoscope page for January 1894 which has a mix of reviews, poetry, opinion and a forward look to events in 1984. The Festival Association were hoping it would be a year of music and were encouraging people to form their own street bands with the aim of performing at the 1984 Gala. Click here to see the page.
With community arts and local talent being a constant thread throughout the history of Wester Hailes, it’s great to know that the WHALE Arts Agency is starting a new music project for local residents in January 2013. Building on the success of their first South West Sounds project, they now have another 2 years for this project thanks to funding from Creative Scotland. Rod Jones (Idlewild, The Birthday Suit) will continue to be WHALE’s Musician in Residence and will be organising weekly song writing, recording and performance workshops. Look out for further details or call 0131 458 3267.
And as Christmas is now only days away, here is one of the songs produced by South West Sounds last year. The music for A Whale of A Christmas was written through South West Sounds workshops with the lyrics written by Eoghan Howard.
Finally, you may have notice snow falling across the blog. It is intentional and hopefully not too distracting! It will be around for a couple of weeks over the festive period but it’ll be gone in the New Year!