A Tune For You
In the 1990s, when Balnain House was playing a huge role in Highland Culture but needing financial support, Eric Allan devised his tune–writing scheme to raise funds. A poster went up in Balnain House, offering A Tune for You - specially-composed tunes in exchange for donations. The benefactors received a printed copy of the music ready for framing, and for a little extra payment a cassette recording (younger readers may have to look up cassette!).
When Balnain House closed, Eric continued the scheme for the Friends, and has now composed over 260 tunes and raised around £16,000. Indeed, Eric’s Tune for You is our main source of funds!
How does it work? Eric will write a tune for you and, in exchange for a donation of £85, you will receive the music on manuscript plus a CD, usually recorded by Eric and Helen. Helen has developed her skills in producing not only the CDs but also the covers, incorporating photographs of the recipients, favourite views etc to order. Donors who are taxpayers can help the Friends by signing Gift Aid forms and so increasing the value of the donations.
A unique gift!
Eric published his first collection of tunes in The Friendly Little Tune Book and since then has produced three further collections, The Loch Ness Collection, The Drumossie Collection and the Culloden Collection which are published and sold by Highland Music Trust, a charitable trust run by Eric and Helen.
So far the 260 plus tunes Eric has composed include waltzes, marches, reels, airs, strathspeys, jigs, hornpipes, schottisches and a two-step. They have been commissioned for births and birthdays, weddings and anniversaries, presents and memorials, and even commercial successes – or sometimes just for the benefactors themselves.
The scheme is still raising money for the work of the Friends, and Eric hopes he still has plenty of tunes in him!
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