New Head of Centre appointed!

We are delighted to share that Jo Ashcroft has been appointed the new Head of Centre at Big Noise Raploch & Fallin. This follows the departure of Vicky Williams who became the new Chief Executive Officer of Sistema Scotland last month.  


 Jo will be a familiar face to many at Big Noise Raploch, having worked there for the past fourteen years in a variety of roles, including most recently as Senior Musician since 2017. Jo is an accomplished musician who studied the flute at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. Alongside her work at Big Noise, she has also worked with a number of music organisations including Drake Music Scotland, Children’s Classic Concerts, and she currently coordinates the Community Music module at the The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.


 Jo Ashcroft, newly appointed Head of Centre at Big Noise Raploch & Fallin, said:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to have been appointed the new Head of Centre at Big Noise Raploch & Fallin, a community I have loved working in for the past fourteen years. I’m excited to continue embedding youth and community voice in as many aspects of the programme as possible and will be working with the wider team to make Big Noise even more inclusive and accessible. We want to offer every young person in Raploch & Fallin a space to create and achieve.”


Check out the Q&A below to find out more about Jo!


When did you first join Big Noise and what roles have you worked in since?

I began my Big Noise journey 14 years ago, as a volunteer, when the programme was just one year old! I came out of college having some experience and a huge passion for teaching and community music, and wanted to learn about this amazing thing happening in Raploch, so I started to volunteer every week. From there, I became a regular cover musician when woodwind, brass and percussion were introduced, and I joined the team as a permanent member of staff in 2013. I’ve been a Senior Musician since 2017, supporting Vicky as Head of Centre and the team to run and develop the programme. 




What are your best Big Noise highlights?

During my time at Big Noise I've had so many highlights - from things like nursery sessions where a child joined in for the first time after many weeks of watching from the side of sessions; to seeing a new flute player surprising themselves by achieving their first sound on the instrument; to enjoying visits from past participants who come along "just to say hi" and knowing that we must have made such a strong connection years ago; to enjoying college recitals by participants who have gone on to study music; and of course the hugely impactful and fun international trips I've been involved in to Italy, Berlin and India. So many memories I cherish and brilliant people I’ve been lucky enough to work with over the years!


What is your education background?

I studied the flute at the RSAMD (now the RCS - that shows my age!) and took an endorsement in community music as part of my degree. 


What is your professional background?

Alongside my work at Big Noise over the past 14 years, I've worked with RCS, Drake Music Scotland, Children’s Classic Concerts, Horsecross Arts, Live Music Now Scotland and lots of other organisations, and I currently coordinate the Community Music module at the RCS alongside working at Big Noise. 




Where are you from?

I'm from Kendal in Cumbria - really close to the beautiful Lake District. I'm lucky to call that beautiful countryside home - it always feels like I'm going home when I'm visiting family and friends. Stirling reminds me of Kendal - with amazing scenery on the horizon you can always daydream if you're having a bad day! I've lived in Scotland for nearly 20 years, which is longer than I lived in England as a kid, so I think I qualify as an honorary Scot now?!


What instrument do you play?

I play the flute, because my first piano teacher had an old flute lying around - it kind of happened by accident! It took me about two weeks to make a sound but I persevered - I don't easily give up on things. I played and sang in as many groups as possible at school and in my local area - music really means the most to me when I'm making it with other people!


Any interests/hobbies you would like to share?

Aside from music, I love sport. Cricket is my main sporting love, but I'll watch almost anything other than golf and F1… I was brought up either practising music or practising my cricket bowling skills against my big brother. I'm particularly passionate about equal opportunities for girls in sport. I don't play at the moment but you'll often find me throwing a ball against a wall - that's how I focus my mind and de-stress!



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