ON TUESDAY evening, as Westminster politics continued its meltdown, there was a more civilised gathering in a committee room at Holyrood hosted by SNP MSP for Renfrewshire South Tom Arthur, who chairs the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Music, and sponsored by Classic FM, which was represented by Kirsty Leith, the head of public affairs at its parent company, Global.

The occasion was a celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Association of British Orchestras (ABO), and the publication of a short report on the sector it represents north of the border, under the not terribly original title of Scotland’s Music Matters.

What is worth noting in passing, following on from the last paragraph of my musings in this space a week ago, is that both the current chair of the ABO, Gavin Reid, chief executive of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, and Ms Leith, who revealed that she once sat at the back desk of the violas in Central Region Youth Orchestra and hails from Kippen, are Scots with leading roles in UK organisations.

As she noted, the commercial classical music station, which has a particularly close relationship with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra of all the affiliates to the ABO in Scotland, is pretty much exactly as popular as you would expect by population, with half a million listeners here of its total reach of a little over five million.

Given the specific cultural competition round these parts, however, and the fact that relatively little of its output is generated here, I am sure that is regarded as pretty good result. Add it to the recent healthy growth in popularity of BBC Radio 3, and it is evident that consumption of classical music is by no means the specialist taste often assumed.

That is in considerable measure down to the work to make it accessible undertaken by the membership of the ABO, which casts its net ever-wider, with the National Youth Orchestra of Scotland and conductor Paul MacAlinden’s Govan-based Glasgow Barons among the more recent recruits.

As Gavin Reid made clear in his remarks on Tuesday, this reflects a considerable shift in the whole ethos of the ABO from its inception in 1948 as the Orchestral Employers’ Association, a body dreamed up by Jenny Lee’s Arts Council in the post-war settlement.

The new ABO Scotland report is from an organisation that is concerned with innovation and talent-nurturing, while its ancestral body often found itself more in the realm of protectionism and industrial unrest.

Alongside all the management bods at Holyrood were a few actual working musicians, including RSNO violinist Alex Gascoine who sits on the Musicians’ Union National Executive Committee representing Scotland, alongside veteran singer-songwriter Rab Noakes.

Youthful Tom Arthur’s pre-political life included lessons from the Dunedin Consort’s artistic director at Glasgow University, and Professor John Butt was also present, just to conform the generational spread of the guest-list.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop’s contribution to proceedings had its personal framing device in that one of her first engagements in the post, back in 2010, had been to speak at the ABO conference when Glasgow hosted it. I bet back than she wasn’t as adept at rapping through the delegate list at breakneck speed, ensuring that no-one was missed, as she showed herself to be this time.

Indeed, what was appropriately festive about this week’s celebratory gathering, and indeed the upbeat and inclusive tone of the accompanying report, was that everyone is audibly singing from the same hymn-sheet. I only wish, to strike a curmudgeonly hum-bug note, they’d had a little more to say. On another day when the chaotic British plan to leave the European Union was again hogging the limelight, a sector that has so much to lose from that was curiously silent on the topic.