Dumbarton’s Every Voice Choir is heard with Scottish Ballet

By Bill Heaney

Pictures by Bernie Heaney and  courtesy of Scottish Ballet

There was an unmissable programme on BBC Scotland over the festive period.

The trouble is that many readers will unfortunately have missed it because you were so busy between 7-8pm on Christmas Day.

Although some of you may have caught Alzheimer Scotland’s Every Voice Choir on Radio Scotland’s Mornings programme on Friday, December 20.

This new BBC Scotland documentary Five Wishes charted the inspiring stories behind an amazing project launched by Scottish Ballet as part of their 50th anniversary year.

For 50 years, Scottish Ballet has been crafted by Scotland – by the people, the tradition, the sense of humour, the generosity and the spirit. As a way of saying thank you to the whole country for their continued support, Scottish Ballet launched Five Wishes and invited people to make a wish that the company would help come true.

Over 400 wishes were submitted, with over 100,000 votes cast by the general public.

BALLET DANCERThe top 50 were presented to an esteemed judging panel which included Dame Darcey Bussell, Susan Calman, Fred MacAulay, Janice Forsyth, Christopher Hampson and Principal Dancer Christopher Harrison, before the final five were selected.

Five Wishes took audiences behind-the-scenes of Scottish Ballet as they made the five creative and inspiring wishes come to life.  Connected to the programme of Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary, the wishes ranged from a brave young dancer called Lily Douglas, currently battling a rare form of childhood cancer, who danced onstage with the company, to an inspirational dance teacher who wished for her students to meet and dance with Scottish Ballet performers in their Aberdeen studio.

From a simple wish of ‘We Sing, You Dance’ from Alzheimer Scotland’s Every Voice Choir, many of whom come from Dumbarton, collaborated with the company to create a performance of song and dance for their summer celebrations.

Then an aspiring young designer called Poppy Camden joined Scottish Ballet on tour to work with the wardrobe department.

The final wish saw musician Colin Bowen, who is currently living with Parkinson’s, conduct the 70 strong Scottish Ballet Orchestra ahead of the world premiere of The Snow Queen, which ties together the wishes and the anniversary year.

Appearing in the documentary to reflect on the Five Wishes, Scottish Ballet’s CEO/Artistic Director Christopher Hampson, said: “Each wish has inspired the company in a way that we didn’t see possible.

“The individual stories behind them have not only moved us, but they have taught us more about ourselves and each other.

“We have had the opportunity to welcome each person into the Scottish Ballet family and thank them for their continued support.

“This journey has shown us the power of art and dance, not only in inspiring people, but in bringing them together.”

The show is available on the BBC i player.

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