Local choir record collaboration piece for broadcast on BBC Radio Three

Ugie Voices are a local choir who are about to hit the big time by being featured on BBC Radio Three.

By John A. MacInnes
Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 11:00 am
Updated Tuesday, 8th February 2022, 11:00 am
The choir performed in Peterhead Sheriff Court
The choir performed in Peterhead Sheriff Court

The choir who rehearse at Mintlaw Academy, comprises members who come from the local area from Banff to Peterhead and number about 20 in total.

It started off as Peterhead Choral Society over 150 years ago, but more recently re-branded as Ugie Voices.

In 2019 the choir had a sell out performance of Gilbert & Sullivan's Trial by Jury in a location aptly suitable for such a musical - Peterhead Sheriff Court!Since just before lockdown they have been involved in a collaboration with Making Music.org called Adopt-a-Creator. This teamed them up with the Aberdeen Saxophone Orchestra and a young composer Ben Lunn to perform a brand new composition by the maestro.

Ben has taken as his inspiration the works of the Inverurie Poet William Thom (1799 - 1848). They are scheduled to record the work on February 19 for broadcast on Radio 3 and, in addition, also have a concert premier on March 26 in Inverurie.

The 20 strong group perform under the guidance and instruction of their musical director James Campbell. Their longest continuous serving member is Gordon Hay who has been with the choir since 1979, a remarkable 43 years of performing.A spokesperson for the choir said: “The Making Music collaboration came about due to both the choir and the ASO being members of that organisation. And there are also three members who are in both groups. Foss Foster, President of the ASO had seen the Adopt-a-Creator project on the MM site and, together with the ASO 's musical director Richard Ingham, contacted our then President Neil Gibson and our musical director, James Campbell about the possibility of a collaboration.

"Foss then contacted MM with the proposal and they liked the idea and paired us with Ben Lunn.We have mostly been rehearsing separately, the ASO are pretty much spread across Aberdeenshire, but have met up in Inverurie about six times over the last year to rehearse together.

"These rehearsals have given both groups a real idea of the overall sound and impressions of the work. Ben, a very talented young man and a genuinely nice guy, has also joined us and has been only too happy to explain and even modify pieces accordingly.

“The zoom rehearsals did help us stay in touch, but as you can imagine, hardly an ideal way for a choir to rehearse and unfortunately, but unsurprisingly a few members felt it wasn't for them and left. It's hard to sing in a choir if you can't hear the other voices!

“We are recording the whole of Ben's Rhymes & Recollections for Radio 3 on February 19, and the live premier of the work will be at the Acorn Centre in Inverurie on March 26.”

The choir is open to new members, and can be contacted through their Facebook page or website at: http://www.ugievoices.co.uk/