Media Release: Highlands and Islands music students perform at Buckingham Palace


FOUR music students from the Highlands and Islands performed at Buckingham Palace yesterday. Amy MacAulay (22) from South Uist, Jamie MacDonald (17) from Tiree, Greg Barry (20) from Loch Ussie near Dingwall and Euan Smillie (18) from Kilmuir on the Black Isle played for a number of VIPs, including HRH The Princess Royal.

The quartet of University of the Highlands and Islands’ students performed a selection of traditional Scottish and Gaelic music as well as their own compositions. Amy is a keen fiddler, Jamie specialises in whistles and fiddle, Euan plays fiddle and sings and Greg specialises in guitar and Gaelic song.

The musical performance was part of a University of the Highlands and Islands and University of the Highlands and Islands Development Trust event to thank existing donors and supporters and connect with other key individuals and businesses with strong links to the Highlands. Over 60 guests attended the event which was hosted by HRH The Princess Royal. HRH was installed as the first chancellor of the university in June 2012.

Amy and Jamie travelled to Buckingham Palace from Lews Castle College UHI’s Benbecula campus on Uist where they study the university’s HNC in music.

Delivered by tutors with backgrounds in the music industry, the applied music course encourages participants to gain as much live performance experience as possible. The students have already played for the BBC TV programme Landward, Swiss Radio and the Celtic Connections music festival in Glasgow this year.

Speaking about the event, Amy MacAulay said: “It was such an honour to be chosen to represent the university at an event in Buckingham Palace. The music was a success and a lot of people came to talk to us after the event to give thanks. It was a once in a lifetime experience I definitely won’t forget.”

Euan Smillie said: “It was an amazing event and a brilliant trip all together. An opportunity like this doesn’t come around to most young musicians, however being a part of the college in Benbecula has allowed me to attend and perform at such a prestigious venue.”

Anna-Wendy Stevenson, programme leader for the applied music degree, said: “Our students were very excited to be representing the university at this important event and they practiced hard. They showcased their talents as well as the Gaelic song and traditional music of the Highland and Islands region. The performance highlighted the success of the university’s innovative music courses like our applied music degree which is available all over Scotland.”

Nuala Boyle, head of development at the university, said: “The event was a fantastic opportunity to showcase our talented students as well as illustrate the diversity of our university offering.”

To find out more about the University of the Highlands and Islands music courses visit or call the course information line on 0845 272 3600.

You can read about the University of the Highlands and Islands Development Trust at


Pictures: L to R – Jamie MacDonald from Tiree, Euan Smillie (18) from Kilmuir on the Black Isle, Amy MacAulay from South Uist, Greg Barry (20) from Loch Ussie near Dingwall and programme leader Anna-Wendy Stevenson.

Higher resolution versions available on request.

Notes to editors:

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a partnership of thirteen further and higher education colleges, specialist colleges and research institutions, distributed throughout the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. They are bound together through constitutional, management and academic structures, and coordinated through an executive office.

There are currently over 7000 students studying on undergraduate and postgraduate courses or undertaking postgraduate research with the university.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is the only university based in the Highlands and Islands.

Its purpose is to have a transformational impact on the development and prospects for the region, its people and its communities.

The University of the Highlands and Islands is a limited company registered in Scotland No. 148203. Scottish charity No. SC022228. Registered office: 12B, Ness Walk, Inverness, IV3 5SQ.

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Contact: Susan Szymborski
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