The Sir Alexander Stone Lecture 2017

The annual Sir Alexander Stone Memorial Lecture took place on Thursday and this year’s guest speaker was folk musician, Phil Cunningham. 

The Lecture was very well attended by the school community and Phil Cunningham discussed his passion for music and his successful career during a Q&A with Head of Music (Performance), Mr Ken Walton.

Phil spoke about his childhood growing up, explaining how he got to where he is today through his passion for music and working with fellow musicians.

He then talked about the style of his music, he said: “Everything I do has its roots in traditional Scottish music. Traditional music is incredible and it is something that both young people and older people can enjoy.

“I joined a band at 16 in 1976 and it was during a time when Scottish traditional music was going through a real change."

Phil told how he came across his first accordion at just three years old. He explained: “It was a gift and I got a toy accordion in my Christmas sock. Within the first couple of hours my mum knew I had a talent and so they sent me to lessons.”

To conclude the talk, he spoke his recent documentary with the BBC and his time at School learning music, he explained: “My music experience started right from the Primary school. I was learning the violin in school and my accordion lessons were outside school.

“By the time I reached Secondary School I had an uneasy relationship with my music teacher. He told me I would do nothing and go nowhere…the following year I sent him a postcard from Bermuda, where I was playing!

“I have him to thank for what I have achieved now. He was the catalyst who made me want to succeed despite all of the odds.”

To round off the day, he played alongside the Hutchesons’ Sting Collective, and then joined April and Myles Macaulay for the second time, playing ‘Mouse in the Kitchen’ and ‘Mill timber gig’.

The Sir Alexander Stone Memorial Lecture was attended by Lady Stone and her guests. Rector Mr Gambles welcomed the visitors and paid tribute to Sir Alexander Stone, a successful businessman, philanthropist and an FP of the School.

He valued his days at Hutchesons’ Grammar School and took a continued interest in the life of the School. For many years this interest was made tangible by his donations to the School prize funds which benefited many generations of Hutchesons’ pupils.

Since his death in 1998, Lady Stone has generously continued this support by giving in Sir Alexander’s memory. Two examples are the stunningly unique John K Clark windows in the Library and the Music Practice Suite in the Fotheringay Centre.

To see the interview Head of Music (Performance), Mr Ken Walton and Phil, please click here.

To see the full performance from the Hutchesons’ String Collective joined by Phil, please click here.

To see the finale, with Phil playing alongside April and Myles Macaulay, please click here.

All photographs from the day can be seen here.

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