For one night only!!!


Posted by in June's Magazine

Kirsty Baird, founder and Musical Director of Sing in the City, is proud of her professional choir the Aw Blacks. She’ll be prouder still when they take to the stage of the Festival Theatre with all 44 members and her 5-piece band, for their show, For One Night Only

his will be their biggest concert to date – with a potential audience of 1900 – and it is well on its way to being a sell-out. They will sing a mix of well-known covers from the 1960s to the present day, as well as original material written by Kirsty and her Assistant Musical Director, Annette Hanley.

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The road from St Paul’s Church at Pilrig in Leith, where the Aw Blacks rehearse, to the Festival Theatre isn’t very long but the journey for Kirsty and her team has been 18 months in the making. Their biggest concert previously was at the Queens Hall in front of 750 people (“It was inspiring, motivating and a pure joy to watch,” said one) but the Festival Theatre gig is not so much on another planet as another stratosphere, really something else, everyone has been working their socks off to ensure that it is an amazing evening for all. The team are excited (and maybe a tad nervous) that all their hard work is about to come to fruition.

What has become the Aw Blacks was Kirsty’s first experience of working with a choir and they are a very proficient group of singers, having performed their shows all over Edinburgh, including corporate and charity events. They willingly give a guarantee of commitment at the highest level:

“It is hard to describe how proud and privileged I feel every time I pull on my Aw Blacks T Shirt. We are worked extremely hard and in return offered endless opportunities to perform and share our love of singing with others. It’s infectious.”

For those of you with an interest, there is an audition process if you fancy having a go.

Kirsty became a vocal coach purely by chance. For most of her life she has been a singer/musician/songwriter. In fact, the nearest she got to having what her mum might regard as a ‘proper job’ was a four-year part-time stint with Scottish Gas. Performing and composing is in her blood – as mentioned earlier, three of her own songs will be performed at the Festival Theatre show.

Sing in the City events are proving to be quite special, if audience feedback is anything to go by: “There was a fantastic selection of songs, which included something for everyone and the enthusiasm and joy of the singing is catching. The leader holds it all together with humour whilst also positively encouraging audience participation. It made for a perfect night out.”

Join them and – Support Your Local Choir! (While hopefully having a night to remember.) ■

Info: The Aw Blacks play Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Friday 1st July. Tickets £11 (concessions available) from www.edtheatres.com/singinthecity

5-minute interview with Kirsty Baird

Q: Has it occurred to you you’ll be performing on Scotland’s largest stage?
A: It was my teenage dream to perform on all the big Edinburgh stages. Not an easy ambition to be sure, but I worked hard, didn’t allow myself to give up and it really will mean the world to all of us.

Q: What are you most looking forward to?
A: I’m looking forward to the whole day, that exciting but nerve ridden feeling I always get about an hour before a show. That’s when I sneak away to stand on the stage alone and get my head in the right space. And, obviously, the excitement of watching the curtain open to see (hopefully) 1900 people looking at us and cheering!

Q: How did Sing in the City start and grow into what it is today?
A: I started with one choir of 31 people, in April 2010, made up of singers who attended my council sponsored Singing for Fun classes. That first choir is now my Aw Blacks and there are still some original members. Then we started another choir In Leith to give people a less challenging singing experience and offer choice. After that people kept asking me to start choirs in other areas.

I now have nine choirs – 3 in Leith, 3 in Edinburgh, one in Musselburgh and two in Fife. There are more than 550 members in total, and waiting lists. Q: What are you most proud of? A: Too many things probably: the amount of money we have raised for charity and local organisations (£52k); the many social events we organise for all our members; being nominated for the Evening News Local Heroes award by our own members, winning the Chorus Award last year and taking the Aw Blacks to the Festival Theatre – hopefully we’ll be in the Playhouse in a couple of years – trust me, they are waiting for us. Mostly I’m proud of all the choirs.

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