The Spirit of Perth

A NEW Scottish album – ‘The Spirit of Perth’ – has just been released to celebrate Perth 800 featuring the Jambouree Choir, John Scrimger MBE, Jimmy Cassidy and Edna Auld, the Perth youth choir’s director.

One of the highlights of the recording is 18-year-old baritone Kenneth Maciver singing ‘The Spirit of Perth’ together with the choir.

Perth’s ‘Mr Music’ John Scrimger and Alan Laing, former Principal Teacher of English at Perth Academy, rose to Edna’s challenge of writing a new song for Perth. The result was ‘The Spirit of Perth’, which was performed live by opera singer Donald Maxwell at Sunday’s highly successful Perth 800 Celebration Concert.

Kenneth won the Gold Medal at Perform in Perth this year and is in great demand as a soloist in the Perth area. He is one of the original members of the Jambouree Choir which was formed five years ago. The youngsters’ first engagement was to sing ‘Highland Cathedral’ in the presence of The Queen when she visited Perth Concert Hall in June, 2005.

The new song is not the only Perth song on the new album as ‘The Perth Pig’ written by former member of Perth Academy English department, Dr Sheila Douglas, is performed by the younger children of the choir, accompanied by Liam Bonthrone, Kenneth Maciver on piano, and Jimmy Cassidy on accordion.

The recording also features a wide range of Scottish and Gaelic songs, many of which have been arranged by John Scrimger. These include the original tune of ‘Auld Lang Syne’ in a haunting arrangement, ‘Come By The Hills’ and ‘The Tartan’.

Edna said: “The choir is fortunate to have John working with us. He writes arrangements to suit the vocal ranges of our singers. “The children and young people love working with him. As a professional musician, he expects the highest standards from the young singers.”
The Jambouree Choir currently has 45 members and several new recruits, mainly boys, are joining after the summer holidays. Members come from schools throughout Perth and Kinross, and some who have now left school. The age range is currently seven to 19 years and the choir has a group of mainly secondary students, ‘The Cabaret Group’, who entertain at concerts and functions in Perth and Kinross.

Most of the major vocal awards at Perth in Perth 2010 were won by members of Jambouree Choir, including Liam Bonthrone who won the award for the best under 18 vocal performance. Vocal tutors for the Choir are Fiona Brownsmith and Bill Webster.

The CD was recorded in St Leonards in the Fields Church by Smith Mearns, sound engineers.
It is available in Perth from Smith Mearns and Wilkie’s Music House, both Charterhouse Lane, and The Concorde Music Shop, Scott Street, or from members of the Choir. It will also be available in a number of other outlets throughout Scotland, and costs £10.

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