RSNO with Billy Boyd

The Herald

Keith Bruce

Adventures of Billy the kid Lord of the Rings star Billy Boyd isn’t afraid of new quests. After taking a starring role in the RSNO’s Christmas concerts, he’s contemplating a new musical career and making his own movie.

BILLY Boyd has built up a real relationship with Scotland’s national symphony orchestra in partnership with conductor Christopher Bell.

This weekend in Glasgow he will narrate Raymond Briggs’s perennial Christmas story of The Snowman to Howard Blake’s haunting score – a show that then goes out on the road to Dundee, Aberdeen and Edinburgh. The dates follow two Children’s Classics concerts by Boyd, with the RSNO and Bell: the premiere of Savourna Stevenson’s Creative Scotland Award composition Mister Stourworm in 2003, for which he read Stuart Paterson’s text, and a crooning appearance with the orchestra’s big band at the beginning of last year that proved he is every thinking Scots’ youngster’s winning swing singer.

It is an association that has seemed almost altruistic on Boyd’s part since his role as Peregrin “Pippin”Took in Peter Jackson’s screen version of Tolkien’s Lord of The Rings has established him as one of Scotland’s most recognised actors, particularly among young people. The addition of his name to a classical music concert – especially if he is going to tell a good story or contribute a rendition of Mack the Knife that makes that chap from Take That look even less convincing in a tuxedo than usual – is surely a guarantee of a full house.

While that might be true, and the presence of the personable performer in any context is certainly an asset, the fact is that he has chosen successful enterprises with which to align himself. UnderBell, Children’s Classics concerts are regularly packed and the swing gig (which included some of Scotland’s top jazzers alongside RSNO players)was already sold out before Boyd’s addition to the bill was even announced.

“It is great to be involved with the younger generation, ” he said during a break in rehearsals with Bell. “It’s good to get people to see things they wouldn’t normally see and help introduce people to different art forms.”

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