Wee Bobby’s nose twitches ever so slightly, his squidgy eyes gradually open to take in the churchyard. His delightfully scruffy face is focused, a picture of curiosity, amplified by a slight tilt, a little to the left. The secret is revealed as he detects sounds from the Kirk, his Kirk, After all he is Greyfirars Bobby. He listens with the cute attentiveness you see only in Terriers.
‘Ladies and Gentlemen, I am delighted to introduce to you to the Men of Edinburgh Rock Choir’. Elaine’s introduction is compelling and the applause warms chilled bones. Ten willing men proudly walk up the spine of the church and take their place in front of the ninety fold Edinburgh Rock Choir members. For the first time in Edinburgh, their home town, among their ain folk, they poise to perform.
Marks delightful treatment on the piano nurtures ‘Hold Back the River’, a soulful song by James Bay. The boys deliver accordingly. It went down a treat at the Glasgow Concert Hall last Saturday with three sold out shows and here they are singing from their souls in this iconic church, packed for the event. As one of the choristers commented, ‘It was a lovely rich sound.’ Aye it was that.
Wee Bobby agreed, listening carefully and getting ready to put on some moves in the next set. You see Rock Choir is more than just singing. There are moves and routines that are generally quite challenging to the male members and off course Wee Bobby himself.
Still, like us he wants to step up to the mark. The Men of Edinburgh Rock Choir threaded their way back into the whole choir to strong applause, There were two songs remaining for this evenings performance before the finale., ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling’ and ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’, were exuberantly performed, with intensity and zing.
Before the male performance, Dylan, wheelchair bound, used his electronic device to communicate with the audience, not unlike Steven Hawking. He explained just how much a positive impact this choir had to his life and how supportive everyone was of him, seeing beyond his disability. I was singing next to Dylan in the final performance, a real privilege .
The inclusion of this young man and the simple acceptance of all people to participate in the choir, sing laugh and enjoy is particularly gratifying. Here is an organisation genuinely committed to embodying core human values.
It is not unusual to see CEO and founder, Caroline Redman appearing on UK television with choir members. She speaks enthusiastically about choir events, a recent one being the opening performance at the BBC Proms in the Park in Hyde Park in London. Choir leaders onstage led close to 10,000 Rock Choir members offstage, performing a flash mob to ‘Dancing in the Streets.’
Back to Greyfriars and Elaine proudly indicates that there were 28,000. members of Rock Choirs UK wide. Quite amazing, an offer that resonates and is enjoyed by so many.
Additionally, the help offered by professional choir leaders and teachers such as Jennifer in Glasgow and Elaine in Edinburgh indicates the spirit of care these folks have on the ground for their choirs and their profession. The result of all of this strategy, skill and effort is reflected of course in the quality of rehearsals and ultimately, performances of the choirs.
‘It was excellent, thoroughly enjoyable!’ a dear friend commented There were smiles, there was joy and some folks were moved to tears. It dusnae get any better than that!
The final song of the evening, ‘Hallelujah’, was hauntingly beautiful. Incorporating the merged talents of sopranos, altos, and basses, this intoxicating song left a respectful imprint on the Kirk. I do believe it would have ‘pleased the lord’.
Wee Bobby was awfy pleased, happy to be woken from his earlier dwams, he tilted his cute, scruffy head to the right, shed a wee tear and went straight back to sleep.
Men & Women of Edinburgh Rock Choir, your leaders and supporters, we salute you!