Schools across the north-east are being offered the opportunity to join in the magic of the Evening Express Carol Concert at Christmas.
We want young choirs, soloists, musicians, orchestras and bands to take part in our traditional celebration of the festive season at the Music Hall on Wednesday December 18.
And this year we are welcoming a new musical director for the Carol Concert – Laura Pike.
She has hit many high notes in the north-east as co-creator of VSA’s highly successful Sing, Sing, Sing event and as former director of music at Albyn School.
Laura, a stalwart of many city choirs and theatre groups, said she was hugely excited to be playing such a key role in the Carol Concert.
“It is such a huge part of Aberdeen tradition and history,” she said.
“I am just delighted to be at the helm of it all and to see the opportunities we can give to all the young children of Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire to have a platform to show what they can do. We want to push the Evening Express Carol Concert out there as a fantastic event, an opportunity for the schools to come forward to say ‘these are our kids, this is what we can do…let’s celebrate Christmas together’.”
Laura is no stranger to the concert…and not just because of her Albyn pupils taking part over the years.
“I was actually in the concert back when I was at school in 1988,” said Laura, who is also vocal coach and assistant musical director for Inverurie’s popular annual panto.
She said the Carol Concert always offers a very special evening.
“Well, it is Christmas… that’s the first thing the kids would say. That and the fact they are coming together as one big team.”
The concert celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and Laura said she intends to “zhush” things up a little.
“We are not just going to get the audience involved, but all the schools singing together,” said Laura.
“There is nothing like bringing people together in song. It just lifts everyone’s spirits and for the kids, with it being Christmas, it just accelerates the excitement even more.”
And Laura is looking forward to welcoming the audience to the Music Hall for the Yuletide musical celebration.
“They will be heavily involved in it, right from the start, singing together as one big group. They will very much be part of what is just a great annual event.”
Keep up to date with the latest news with The Evening Express newsletter
Evening Express editor Craig Walker said he was delighted to welcome Laura to the Evening Express Carol Concert team. He also paid tribute to the event’s previous musical director Jenny Cranna, who hung up her baton after last year’s 50th anniversary concert.
He said: “We can’t thank Jenny enough for her outstanding work in making our Carol Concert such a glittering and joyous occasion, year after year.”
Also bowing out last year was the concert’s long-standing compere Ken McLeod.
“Ken brought such warmth, charm and fun to the concert… and his jokes were the stuff of legend. He will be a tough act to follow,” said Craig.
He added: “This year’s Carol Concert will be held exactly a week before Christmas Day.
“That means the atmosphere and excitement on the night will be just wonderful, especially with all the young voices coming together in harmony to celebrate this special time. It is always a joyous – and emotional – evening and I can’t wait to welcome all the talented pupils and their families and friends along.”
The Evening Express Carol Concert team will soon be emailing schools across the north-east, inviting them to put their talented pupils forward for the chance to be in the spotlight.
So, please, keep an eye on your inbox…and put Wednesday December 18 in your calendar.
Groups or organisations also interested in taking part can contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.