Christmas Concert

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TO ROUND off a year of events to commemorate Arbroath Academy’s 50th anniversary, music teacher Marina Kyle decided to change the nature of the school’s annual concert, which was also her 20th Christmas concert since she began teaching at the school.

Miss Kyle, a former pupil of Arbroath Academy, decided to ask former pupils back to perform alongside current pupils and was delighted to discover that so many people were keen to return to entertain pupils, parents and friends of the school.

There was a varied programme which included music from the 1960s from Alan Mowatt, who was accompanied by guitarist Ian Lamb; and a Beatles medley by Jamie Hayes, who was accompanied by his friend Sal Shah, a member of the Glasgow band Hip Parade. Kirsty Petrie sang the ‘70s Dolly Parton classic ‘Jolene’.

Current pupils Evianne Webster, Amy Jamieson, Keir Ritchie, Victorija Buharova, and Darren MacKenzie performed a number of current hits by The Fray, Kate Bush and Wretch 32.

Former pupils Kyle Smith and Jamie Bowick performed ‘Give Me Love’ by Ed Sheerin and Tasha Bates sang Emile Sande’s ‘Next to me’, accompanied on guitar by pupil Evianne Webster.

As well as performing songs from different eras, a couple of acts presented their own material. Former pupil Neil Crawford sang one of his own comedy songs about his stalking ‘Boomerang’ girlfriend and the school’s resident band, Two for Flinching, which won the Scottish Battle of the Bands earlier this year, performed a couple of their own songs.

Instrumental items were presented by the school string orchestra, conducted by instructor Katherine Liley, and the woodwind group, which included pupils, instructor Elaine Rietveld, Marina Kyle and former pupil Hayley Muldoon who has attended lunchtime rehearsals with her two-year old son, Kai! Solos were provided by pupils Rachel Simpson, fiddle, Kitya Zalaiskalnas, piano, and former pupil Sara Dawodu who performs Scottish and Bluegrass music on fiddle all around the world. Another former pupil, Jack Newth, played a couple of Scottish sets on pipes, rounding off with ‘Jingle Bells’.

Former pupils Wilma Ewart, Tracey Fleming and Kirsten Hammond sang Christmas songs and Charlotte McLean performed a contemporary dance solo to the song ‘Imagine’. Charlotte, who is studying dance, also choreographed a dance for current pupils Georgia Darling, Hannah and Suzanne Chapman.

The age range of performers went from 12 to 61 years of age and several members of the same family took part. Lauren Taylor, who brought along her ‘ladies’ to entertain with an energetic Zumba number, is the cousin of Kerry Taylor who sang a solo. Also Darin Bell, one half of the popular band Pepperpot, performed with his sons Warren and Corrie. Mother and daughter Collette Dear and Eileen Masson also sang solos.

Many of the adults taking part work professionally in the business, including Tracy Gibson and her guitarist Pete Mylles, who started as a pupil at Arbroath Academy in 1963. Tracy also sang a duet with Darin Bell who played the Tin Man alongside her Dorothy in the school pantomime in 1984.

Many of the adult performers have a long history of performing in musical theatre and Jamie Watson, Sara Whitton and John Hayes sang songs from the popular musical ‘Les Miserables’. Jamie was also an admirable compère throughout the evening.

The evening, which was enjoyed by an appreciative audience, gave performers of all ages and experiences a chance to get together and re-live some of their memories about their time at Arbroath Academy.