Hundreds of talented youngsters have taken to the stage of Aberdeen’s new-look Music Hall for the 50th anniversary of the Evening Express Carol Concert.
The renovated venue rang out with the sounds of Christmas as children from schools and musical groups from around the north-east performed in front of a sell-out audience.
Festive favourites like Merry Christmas Everyone, Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and Jingle Bell Rock drew loud applause from the proud family and friends looking on.
Taking part in the concert were Kirkhill Primary, Grampian Youth Orchestra Strings, Skene Square School, Aberdeen City Music School, Hazlehead Primary, Walker Road Primary, Scott School of Singing, Mackie Academy Concert Band, Aberdeen School for the Deaf/Sunnybank Primary, Bucksburn Academy Steel Orchestra, Orchard Brae Makaton Choir, Broomhill Primary, Bridge of Don Academy Senior Choir, Fernielea School Choir, Aberdeen Youth Wind Band and Aberdeen Music Theatre.
More than 600 young performers took to the stage to bring festive cheer to the north-east.
Evening Express editor Craig Walker welcomed the audience.
He said: “Tonight is a cause for real celebration for two reasons.
“This year’s carol concert rounds off a weekend of celebrations of the reopening of the Music Hall after more than two years of hard work to make a real treasure for the city.
“It is a great privilege for the Evening Express to be hosting the first large-scale public performance in the new Music Hall and to play a small part in welcoming back this fantastic venue.
“Secondly, tonight’s concert marks the 50th anniversary of the first Evening Express Carol Concert, held on Sunday December 15, 1968, in this very venue.
“At that first concert, Tom Devine, the assistant organiser of music, arranged the concert which included performances from the Aberdeen Saturday Morning Choirs as well as choirs from Broomhill, Craighill, Springfield, St Joseph’s, Beechwood and Smithfield schools.
“Since that debut, thousands of north-east children have helped kickstart the festive period with the annual Evening Express Carol Concert.”
The show began with the audience singing along to Hark The Herald Angels Sing, accompanied by the Grampian Youth Orchestra Strings.
Audiences were then treated to a variety of festive classics, old and new, including Mackie Academy’s orchestra and a special performance by Aberdeen School for the Deaf/Sunnybank Primary – who signed Mistletoe and Wine.
The night was a special one for compere Ken McLeod, who announced it would be his last after more than 20 years, 15 of them as compere.
Ken said he hopes the public will continue to support the carol concert and he wishes to be remembered “for more than being the guy that told the rubbish jokes” at the event.
The evening’s highlights included a performance by Bucksburn Acadamy, who played a unique tropical rendition of Santa Claus is Coming to Town and Mary’s Boy Child on the steelpans.
Former Torry Academy head teacher Jenny Cranna once again took on the task of organising the show.
She said she was “delighted” to have taken part, adding: “On behalf of all the participants I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.”
Making a surprise appearance after their performance in Snow White, this year’s pantomime at His Majesty’s Theatre, were stars Lee Mead and Jenna Innes.
The pair took to the stage and performed a heart-warming duet of The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire) and wished the north-east a Merry Christmas.
To close the show, the audience were invited once more to sing along to We Wish You A Merry Christmas.
Proceeds from last year’s event went towards the Evening Express CommunitEE Chest giveaway, with more than 100 local groups sharing a £15,000 prize fund.
The money raised last night is set to be fed back into the local community through worthy causes next year.