RCS student’s musical tribute on pandemic’s National Day of Reflection

RCS student’s musical tribute on pandemic’s National Day of Reflection

Published: 23/03/2021

A Royal Conservatoire of Scotland student has created a poignant new piece of music dedicated to those who have lost their lives to Covid-19.

The original cello work from Simone Seales is unveiled today on this National Day of Reflection — the anniversary of the UK’s first national lockdown — to offer a moment to pause and to come together, a moving musical tribute to those who have died throughout the pandemic and the families and friends who are mourning their loss.

The music has been created for The Herald newspaper’s Garden of Remembrance campaign which will create a special place in Glasgow’s Pollok Park where families can remember their loved ones.

Student Simone Seales sits on a chair in Pollok Park and plays the cello

© Colin Mearns/The Herald.

“I believe music is a powerful tool which grounds us as much as it moves us,” said Simone, who is studying on the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma programme at RCS.

“The piece is a musical offering to others to find a sense of grounding in a climate that feels so unstable. I’ve spent the last year using the cello as a way to process my complex feelings around the pandemic.

“I feel very grateful to be a part of The Herald’s Garden of Remembrance campaign and to share my music with everyone. It’s nice to be part of something that I feel is really meaningful and gives everyone a chance to reflect.”

Watch the full Herald video below.

© Colin Mearns/The Herald

The Herald’s campaign, which was launched last year, has raised more than £43,000 through public donations to build a lasting memorial in Pollok Park.

Today, it was given a further boost following an offer from the Scottish Government to pledge more than £16,000 to help reach a milestone £60,000. Glasgow’s Lord Provost Philip Braat yesterday unveiled a plaque surrounded by benches carved out of felled beech trees from the park.

Simone, from Florida, recently received their Master’s degree in Music Performance from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and is currently finishing their studies on the Advanced Postgraduate Diploma programme.

“The RCS has been a wonderful place for me to explore who I am as a musician and has given me the space to find my voice as an artist. As a performer, having everything stripped from me in the last year has been a shock and, personally, a blessing.

“Without the pressures of performance, I have found more direction and purpose. As we are finally released from restrictions and search for a new sense of ‘normal’, I firmly believe that artists have the power to help our communities heal. While people have had vastly different experiences in the last year, the root cause is shared. Even though governments have suggested that creatives ‘retrain’, our work is necessary for healing. As artists, we can truly be witnesses to the world’s experience and find ways to reflect and move forward through our preferred creative medium.”

Simone, who specialises in free improvisation and devising music for theatre, is passionate about exploring sound and how it can reflect emotional states of being. Their creative influences come from Black feminist leaders such as Audre Lorde, Assata Shakur and Angela Davis. Within their creative work, they centre Blackness, sexuality, intersectional feminism and anti-racism.

Reaching new audiences and increasing access to arts education is a key element of Simone’s work, which has a focus on trauma-informed teaching practices.

Find out more about Simone at simoneseales.com

Video footage and photography © Colin Mearns/The Herald


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