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Singing for Celia by Martin Hannan

Singing for Celia by Martin Hannan 

Perhaps it was the high emotion of the occasion, but Peebles-based choir InChorus gave a truly memorable and inspired performance at their special concert in tribute to late founding member Celia Hayton which took place at the weekend.

West Linton Primary School Hall was full to overflowing for the concert in tribute to the much-loved local woman who was renowned for leading the singing at the village’s Whipman Play events.

InChorus perform for Celia

Friends from the Edinburgh Police Choir joined InChorus for an evening of song that Celia herself would have greatly appreciated. Her fellow villagers certainly did, with a rousing standing ovation at the end of a night which summed up the feelings of the West Linton community about how much she meant to them.

Celia died on August 1 after a six year battle against cancer during which time she loyally continued to attend InChorus’s practices and performances.

Her family and her fellow choristers knew that she would make a target of performing in the next big concert – whether that be in Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre and Usher Hall, or most memorably in New York – to give herself hope at a time when she was often suffering.

In West Linton, InChorus was known as ‘Celia’s Choir’ so the membership decided it was entirely appropriate to hold the memorial concert in the village, and even though entrance tickets were free, donations and raffle prizes raised the grand sum of £3,000 for Macmillan Cancer Support.   InChorus perform for Celia

Musical Director, Aly Skidmore said: “All past and present members of InChorus remember Celia with great fondness. She was always cheerful with a wicked sense of humour and the most infectious laugh. The enthusiasm and zest which she threw at every performance rarely wavered, despite her illness and a gruelling treatment regime. We will always be inspired by the courage, grace and determination with which she approached life.”

The concert itself featured some of InChorus’s best-known numbers such as I will Follow Him (as seen in the film Sister Act), John Lennon’s Imagine, and Snow Patrol’s Run.

The Scottish Medley featuring songs or excerpts of songs from Scottish performers as diverse as Andy Stewart and The Proclaimers had the audience cheering their approval, while the choir’s first-ever public performance of Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop The Feeling! hit the right notes.

West Linton loving the show from InChorusLocal choir member Lorna Turnbull said: “West Linton knew that the choir was a big part of Celia’s life, and we wanted to show the people of the village how much she meant to us and how much she enriched our lives.

“We were absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of the people of West Linton, and the feeling in the hall was wonderful throughout the evening.”

Celia’s family expressed their thanks after the concert, her daughter Grace saying: “I find it hard to put into words how the evening felt. It was so emotional and so exhilarating by the end.

Everyone as they left were so happy. It was a local show of love. Mum would have been embarrassed by the fuss, but would have been so proud. They were singing their hearts out for mum. Mum loved the village and the support the village gave her. It was a huge part of her life.


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