Mauchline pupils re-create famous Burns Poem in CARS project

Mauchline’s proud history as the place where Rabbie Burns, working behind in the fields at nearby  Mossgiel Farm, found inspiration to write “Tae a Mouse”  is being celebrated by Mauchline Primary’s P6 pupils as part of the Mauchline Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme (CARS)

Working since April with local singer-songwriter Paul Brunton, of Rock 'n' Role Models, the pupils have been creating a musical accompaniment and adaptation of Robert Burns’ epic poem.

Creating their unique song also meant they had to learn new instruments and then working with Choreographer Carrie Craggs who created a movement piece to go with their tune.

The group then worked with Emma and Eileen Frater of Ayrshire based Bat an Eye Productions to create a music video featuring Mauchline’s famous local landmarks.

The whole project, run by East Ayrshire Council’s Zara Smith, Cultural Co-Ordinator for Dance and Movement for the Creative Minds Team,  working closely with P6 teacher Caroline Morrison, was funded by  Mauchline CARS, whose budget includes funds for education projects based on the history and culture of the village.

Entitled "Rabbie Road" The music video tells the story of how Burns established his inspiration for "Tae a Moose". Half of the class became modern day Rabbies "The Rabs" and tells the story of how a songwriter would write a song in this day and age and the other half of the class "The Rabbies" were in period clothes and writing the song for the first time in Rabbie’s time – the whole video was filmed at iconic sites across Mauchline.

Co-Ordinator Zara Smith explained “Our aim was to create a programme of creative learning to contribute to Mauchline Conservation Area Regeneration Scheme’s strategic objective of, and commitment to, engagement and participation with schools and the wider community. The project celebrated Mauchline’s unique, rich, cultural heritage and increased the young people’s understanding and appreciation of their own heritage and a sense of pride in where they live and learn.

“Engaging them in the whole process, from learning new instruments, music making, creative writing and singing skills to dance and choreography and finally film, offered a dynamic, creative, collaborative learning opportunity for the children. The pupils adored the project and become fully immersed in all aspects, really making it their own – they were definitely the driving force behind all ideas. It will be a project they will remember for the rest of their lives.

Councillor Jim Roberts, Cabinet Member for Economy and Infrastructure said: “This is a great example of CARS at its best.  While the main part of the funding is for the restoration of Mauchline’s historic buildings, helping renovate and preserve them for future generations, the educational benefits are also clear.

“By involving local pupils in this way, they acquire new skills and gain a better understanding of their historical built environment.”

Mauchline CARS Project Officer Lynn Rew said. “It’s great to see a project like this come to fruition and see the obvious pride these youngsters now have in their community as a result. As just one of many planned educational projects during the lifetime of CARS it’s been a huge success.

“Through CARS, which is funded by Historic Environment Scotland and East Ayrshire Council, we can offer all sorts of opportunities, including training in traditional craft skills, advice on the maintenance of older buildings for building owners and financial help for those want to make the most of their historic properties within the conservation area. It’s an all- inclusive plan - by restoring key properties we’re helping foster skills, knowledge, opportunities and pride to the community in and around the centre of Mauchline

“We’re also looking forward to working further with Zara and the team at Creative Minds.  The next thing we’re all excited about will be a screening of the music video for everyone to enjoy.”

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