People's concert set to sing praises of city's rich legacy

TWO generations of singers will come together for the Capital's first ever Lord Provost's People's Concert, which organisers hope will become an annual event.

The Scottish Chamber Orchestra (SCO) will perform The Voice of a City by the late Edward Harper, a musical portrait of Edinburgh with references to the One o'Clock Gun, Jean Brodie and Sean Connery.

The Bond theme will even be played for a few seconds as a tribute to the star.

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Alongside the SCO's 37 performers will be a 140-strong choir of primary school children, comprised of members of the Edinburgh Voice Academy and pupils at Towerbank Primary School.

There will also be an adult community choir of around 120 Edinburgh residents.

More than 100 pupils from the Erskine Stewart's Melville Schools Choirs will perform The Land of Counterpane by Howard Blake as part of the piece.

The one-hour family concert will take place at the Usher Hall on February 5 and has been designated as the official Lord Provost's People's Concert, an event for all, celebrating Edinburgh's riches in music and words from past and present.

Christine Shuttleworth, 67, from Barnton, will perform alongside her granddaughter Joanna Lamb, 9, from East Craigs.

She said: "We're particularly excited to sing together. My granddaughter was desperate for me to sign up in time to join the community choir. "

Lord Provost George Grubb, who will attend the concert, 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." The Voice of a City was first performed by the SCO in 2003, with many of the original choir members also set to take part in February's performance.

Chorus master for the SCO chorus and The Voice of a City community choir, Gregory Batsleer, said: "Edward Harper was clearly proud of Edinburgh - the piece really expresses his passion for the city.

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"The Voice of a City community choir is giving people a chance to experience choral music and perform with the SCO in the Usher Hall. Hopefully it will inspire people to keep singing." Lorna Hoy, 50, from Newhaven, said: "I signed up to The Voice of a City again because I wanted to sing with the SCO and the children on stage at the Usher Hall. "

The Voice of a City was originally written by Edward Harper for the refurbishment of the Usher Hall and its organ in 2003. As a result, the organ features prominently in the concert and will be used again in the forthcoming performance.

Janet Rathband, 75, from Fairmilehead, will be singing in the adult community choir. She said: "People should come to the concert because they can hear about Edinburgh and all of the city's famous people."

The Voice Academy is funded by the city council and is made up of primary six and seven pupils from Edinburgh schools.

Lucy Lowe, SCO connect director, said: "This event is a celebration of Edinburgh as a city and the creativity of its people over centuries, from Robert Louis Stevenson to JK Rowling."

The concert will start at 3pm.