Highlands and Islands MSP backs groundbreaking Feis Academy.

Peter Peacock, Highlands and Islands Labour regional MSP, has been backing moves for a ground breaking traditional Scottish Arts academy with members at the Scottish Parliament.

Mr Peacock, who has been supporting Feisean nan Gaidheal, the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and UHI, praised the groupís strenuous efforts to build on the success of the hugely popular Feisean movement.

"The Feisean movement has been one of the great successes in developing music and performance among young people almost anywhere in Europe over the past 25 years - it has made an outstanding contribution to developing our young people and Highland culture and I hope it will for many years to come. The idea of taking the Feis to the next level and developing a Feis Academy is very exciting and it deserves support," said Mr Peacock.

"I understand from the steering group that the signs are extremely positive that the Academy will go ahead. A business plan is due to be completed by the end of the year and itís hoped the finer details of the make up of the academy will be available in the New Year.

"The concept revolves around modular training where young people who want to improve their skills can study and running alongside that teachers can top up their skills for the growing number of jobs in this field," said Mr Peacock.

Feisean nan Gaidheal will provide the final voice of 2007 celebrations at an event in Eden Court in January.

Their specially commissioned performance will then represent Scotland in Liverpool as part of their 2008 City of Culture celebrations and at the Scottish Parliament sometime in 2008.

Peter Peacock said, "It would be a fitting legacy for the Year of Highland Culture to see the Feis Academy supported and established."

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