Lesley Garrett with Male Voice Choir

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THE CURTAIN rises this coming week on an extraordinary series of gala concerts by the Arbroath Male Voice Choir and their very special guest, Lesley Garrett, Britain’s favourite soprano, at the Webster Memorial Theatre on March 29 and 30.

It is a dream come true for the 46 members of Arbroath Male Voice Choir who hail from across Angus and Dundee.

“It’s a chance in a lifetime to sing with an international singing superstar – naturally we’re all very excited about the concerts,” remarked Dr Richard Irvine, Arbroath Male Voice Choir president.

“It’s a real honour to have Lesley as our special guest for these, our 78th annual concerts, and we feel very proud to be able to bring an artiste of such calibre to Arbroath. It is an opportunity to introduce people to music through Lesley and inspire and encourage them to develop their own musical talent, knowledge and appreciation.”

Both nights are a sell out and such is the excitement surrounding the concerts that there is a lengthy and expanding waiting list for returned tickets.

Dr Irvine continued: “Lesley joins the choir to sing a number of specially arranged pieces as well as her much anticipated solo features. It will be an evening to remember and all the more wonderful in the intimate surroundings of the Webster Theatre.

“Arbroath Male Voice Choir will be singing a varied programme, ranging from musical theatre to traditional folk tunes, the blues to popular classical – something for everyone. We like variety and are determined to demonstrate the power, passion and relevance of male voice choir singing in the 21st century.”

On Thursday (March 29), Lesley Garrett will be welcomed by the Provost of Angus, Ruth Leslie Melville, and on Friday she will be introduced by the Earl of Airlie.

Lesley Garrett is Britain’s most popular soprano, regularly appearing in both opera and in concert, on television and CD. She has won both critical acclaim and the affection of many fans and music lovers.

She was awarded a CBE in the 2002 New Year’s Honours List for services to music and is a Member of the Board of the Royal Academy of Music.

Lesley will be joined by accompanist David Barnard. Born and raised in Australia from Yorkshire parents, David graduated from his B.Mus (performance) studies at the age of 18, training as a concert pianist with Diana Harris OAM. He then returned to his family roots in the UK to further his freelance career.

David’s noted and wide ranging projects have been broadcast on RTÉ (Ireland), BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio Scotland, and ABC Classic FM (Australia).

Dr Richard Irvine added: “The Lesley Garrett concerts have generated tremendous interest in the choir, with ticket sales as far away as Cornwall. With new members joining too, the ensemble has never been stronger.”

Arbroath Male Voice Choir will be under the expert musical direction of Sheena Guthrie and accompanied by Alison Hart.

The concerts are supported in part by funding from Angus Council Community Award Scheme, Arbroath Guildry Incorporation, Arbroath Improvement Trust, Aberbrothock Skea Trust and the generous support of many local businesses and individuals.