On 5 February at 3pm, The Scottish Chamber Orchestra will be joined on the stage of the Usher Hall by singers of all ages from across Edinburgh for a family concert celebrating the city’s riches in music and words, from past and present. The concert will open with The Land of Counterpane – poems from Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses set to music by Howard Blake, composer of The Snowman. The Land of Counterpane will be sung by over 100 pupils from the Erskine-Stewart’s Melville Schools Choirs.
It will then be followed by The Voice of a City, an affectionate portrait of Edinburgh by Edward Harper, including lyrics by Ron Butlin, Edinburgh’s Makar. The piece features references to Edinburgh celebrities, such as the One o’Clock Gun, John Knox, Sean Connery, and Miss Jean Brodie.
The Voice of a City will be performed by a choir of 160 primary school children (Voice Academy) gathered from a number of Edinburgh schools and an adult community chorus recruited from Edinburgh residents across the city. They are joined by City Organist, John Kitchen, and conductor, Garry Walker.
The performance is designated as The Lord Provost’s People’s Concert, celebrating Edinburgh’s creativity and the refurbishment of the Usher Hall. The Rt. Hon. George Grubb, Lord Lieutenant and Lord Provost of the City of Edinburgh, said:-“This concert is about the people of Edinburgh coming together to celebrate their very own concert hall, the Usher Hall, following its marvellous refurbishment. It’s a way for everyone to say ‘This is our Usher Hall’, and to enjoy a splendid programme of music all together. I would love it to become an annual fixture – we’ll see how this first one goes and look at what might be possible in future.”
Joanna Lamb, who sings in the Voice Academy, will share the stage with her grandmother, Christine Shuttleworth, who sings in the community choir. Christine said, “We’re particularly excited to sing together. My granddaughter said it’s fantastic that we’ll be in the same chorus. She was desperate for me to sign up in time to the community choir.”
Preceding the concert, the Usher Hall hosts the City of Literature’s Family Day (10:30am – 3pm); a day of fun for all the family, exploring the musical and literary aspects of The Voice of a City concert. Free and open to all ages, this collection of events includes storytelling, song writing, setting poems to music, face-painting, composing and more.
The concert is part of the City of Literature’s Let’s Get Lyrical campaign which is a month long celebration of song lyrics.
THE VOICE OF A CITY – A Family Concert
BLAKE The Land of Counterpane (20’)
HARPER The Voice of a City (30’)
Saturday 5 February, 3pm Edinburgh Usher Hall
Scottish Chamber Orchestra
Garry Walker conductor
John Kitchen organ
Pupils from the Erskine Stewart’s Melville Schools choirs (The Land of Counterpane)
A chorus of 270 voices from schools and communities across the City of Edinburgh (The Voice of a City)
Edinburgh (Queen’s Hall/Usher Hall): £10 (concessions and family tickets available)
Queen’s Hall Box Office, tel 0131 668 2019 www.thequeenshall.net
Usher Hall Box Office, tel 0131 228 1155 www.usherhall.co.uk