A pair of north-east songstresses are using their talents to raise much-needed funds for a mental health charity following the tough lockdown period.
Tara Leiper and Ceri Kindley have performed across the north-east as the Great Dames for the past five years.
Music teacher Tara, of Tara Leiper Music in Alford, suggested to her student Ceri they start doing duets in front of crowds.
Their blend of classical performance and light-hearted fun has proved popular, and the pair released their first album, entitled Verite, last year, containing a collection of their favourite and most popular songs recorded in Kemnay Church Hall.
Ceri, who lives in Balmedie, said: “There are couple songs from opera, a couple from the classics, some sacred music, Gilbert and Sullivan.
“A favourite which somebody always asks for when we’re at the concerts is the Cat Duet, a very classical piece by Rossini, where the words are ‘meow’.
“The two voices intertwine, singing ‘meow, meow, meow’ all the way through. We put cat masks on, and we usually use it as the finale, just to keep everyone happy and have an amusing end to the concert.”
When the country went into lockdown earlier this year, the Great Dames – who have performed at a large number of charity fundraisers in the past – wondered what they could do to help.
A concert was out of the question, of course, so Tara and Ceri turned to the album they had already recorded and released.
They will be sending out a copy of their album, while stocks last, to every person who donates £10 to their JustGiving fundraising page for Scottish mental health charity SAMH.
Ceri said: “It’s a charity that Tara’s music school has supported for quite some time.
“Twice a year she has all her students have a concert, to give them all experience of how to perform in front of an audience.
“There’s always a raffle, and any proceeds from that always go off to SAMH.
“I’m an ex-nurse, and I know how important it is to have good mental health.
“It’s a very good charity, and we wanted to support them because of Covid. Everybody’s mental health has been affected, even if they don’t realise it.
“SAMH do such good work that we wanted to do what we could for them.
“We would love to do a concert, but we can’t, so what we are doing is for everyone who donated £10 we will give them a CD.”
The Great Dames have already raised £200 for the charity from local donations.
Their fundraising page can be found at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Great-Dames-Vocal-Duov