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Archives of The North East of Scotland Music School
A Brief History of The North East of Scotland Music School
[Written for the 25th anniversary in 2000] ?
Author unknown
A Remarkable Lady with a Remarkable Dream
Dorothy Hately was a Londoner, she always wanted to work as a teacher but the disruption to her own schooling with her attendance at 8 schools in 6 years during the hardships of evacuation brought about the need for her to take on office work instead. Between 1954 and 1959, however, after training in Bristol, she found herself working as a nursery teacher.

After marriage, a move to Aberdeen in 1963 with husband Maurice and family saw music becoming increasingly important in the Hately household. Whilst doing work in the Music Department at the University of Aberdeen, Dorothy became aware of the problems talented students in the N.E. had to obtain advanced musical tuition. She took the bull by the horns and spoke with the music advisors, the P.T.'s Music and the University to find out the seriousness, of the situation.

Thanks to the support of the then Director of Education, part of the old Academy in Belmont Street was set aside Monday to Friday for the very first students of the newly formed NESMS. The Aim of NESMS was and still is, to provide young people of outstanding musical promise with the opportunity to experience tuition not available within their existing framework of study.

In l975 there were 4 Disciplines in the initial stages and 40 students. Dorothy was sharing her working day between the School for the Deaf and the infant NESMS but by 1982, NESMS had blossomed and Dorothy's talents were needed in a full time capacity. Internationally renowned musicians such as Dennis Matthews, John Carol Case initially and later Raimund Herincx, Sofie-Christine Sussman, Ifor James and James Blades amongst others were "persuaded" by Dorothy to travel to Aberdeen and give talented students from the North East the benefits of their expertise and experience.

Money was and always will be hard to find. Dorothy worked tirelessly raising funds from individuals, charitable trusts, companies and the local authority. Many of these still contribute generously but sadly not all. One great loss was the withdrawal of the considerable grant towards tutors' travelling expenses by the old Grampian Region. Such are the financial hardships today!

1987 saw Dorothy making a trip to Buckingham Palace to receive from HM the Queen an MBE for her services to music. Typically Dorothy saw this as an honour for NESMS not for herself.

By the 1990's the days in the Belmont Street premises were numbered. The old Academy buildings and the surrounding land were sold by the local authority to a developer. NESMS had to find a new home. No matter how hard Dorothy tried to find accommodation within other authority premises, there always seemed to be some sort of problem!

Eventually Dorothy was most fortunate in being able to persuade the Methodist Church in Crown Terrace to provide a suitable venue, albeit a temporary one. In order to purchase something permanent a large sum of money was required and Dorothy took the courage of her conviction in both hands and applied, with guidance from various people in the world of money, to the Scottish Arts Council Lottery Fund. This was a very slow process but suffice to say the application was successful!

Unfortunately at this time Dorothy's ongoing battle with cancer began to take its toll. Negotiations began for a property in central Aberdeen but sadly Dorothy was not to see the move of NESMS in to its permanent home at 21 Huntly Street, however, her wonderful spirit and the knowledge that her dream would be fulfilled kept her going.

NESMS' new home was officially opened on 14th May 1998 by the Lord Provost and the premises named in memory of the School's founder as the Dorothy Hately Music Centre. A musical tribute to this special day was given by several students from the School in St. Mary's Cathedral which could accommodate the large guest list.

There are 5 teaching studios, one of which is large enough to hold small concerts or recitals and an extensive and growing library. Raimund Herincx and Ifor James and a host of other tutors continue to travel from various parts of Europe to teach at No.2l.

The 4 Disciplines of 25 years ago now number 11 and the 40 students are now in excess of 200. A large percentage of these students go on to University or College to study music and continue to take up the wonderful opportunities offered by the School by travelling to Aberdeen for lessons. The dream of the remarkable Dorothy Hately has been fulfilled and it is now up to those who follow to maintain the high standards set by her.