Congratulations to Kirsty Baird & Annette Hanley who won the Inspiration Award category. We asked them the following questions.
Tell us more about yourself / the choir
I am the Musical Director of Sing in the City and Annette is the Assistant MD. We were both singer songwriters earning our living by gigging around Scotland before I started Sing in the City in 2010. We have 460 members of varying ages and backgrounds and we have choirs to suit all levels. We arrange songs from different genres and decades along with some original material.
It’s great to see the choirs and members come on. Some members take it really seriously and throw themselves into the singing and social life that comes with each choir and some just come along for 2 hours per week to make time away from their other stresses.
The choirs have collectively raised almost £25000 for charity which is something we are really proud of. Although we are a business, we have our yearly OAP Xmas party, do shows for charity and take part in lots of charity events. This list is endless because when you have a great team around you that all want to get involved, it’s easy and anything is possible!
How long have you been singing / has the choir been singing together?
I started my first choir in April 2010. This is now the professional face of Sing in the City and is called the Aw Blacks.
Annette and I have been singing since we were 17 so each of us have a good 25 years of experience.
What have you/has the choir got planned in the next 12 months?
Next year I have booked the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh for the Aw Blacks. The Aw Blacks have a charity show for When You Wish Upon a Star to do in the Edinburgh Festival. Later in November 2 of the choirs are performing at the Churchill Theatre and next year we’ll be in the Alhambra theatre in Dunfermline with the Fife choir. I would really love for all my choirs to come together maybe late next year to do a charity show in the Usher Hall.months
What has been the highlight of your / the choir’s singing journey?
There is a new highlight every month that goes by – never a dull moment! One of the musical highlights was the Queens Hall gig with the Aw Blacks in 2013 but one of the most challenging highlights was taking part in a triathlon on New Years Day with some of the choir members. The most emotional highlight was helping one of my members finish the Edinburgh marathon last year. She got injured and was only half way through and was really upset and disappointed. Myself and another member walked the 13 miles with her. ( I had a hoody and pointed boots on and I was really not equipped for this walk but it does make for a funny story now.)
What got you singing in the first place / why did the choir first start singing together?
Annette and I have always loved music, we are musicians and singers and have never know anything else. I can’t imagine what it would be like to not have music in my life and I can’t imagine not having Sing in the City. I decided to take my singing for class that I did with the council and start a choir. My first choir had 31 members.
How does it feel to be the first winner of the award?
We are really chuffed and proud. The fact that people see us as inspirational is brilliant
What are your favourite songs?
My favourite song is Every Day Now – Texas. Annette’s favourite song is Forever Autumn. The choir favourite is Something Inside so Strong
What styles of singing do you / the choir enjoy most?
We have so many members who love so many songs and one thing I always tell them is, “Even if you hate this song, someone else in the choir or audience will love it, so sing it like you mean it!”
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