A DEMENTIA-friendly choir in Dumbarton enjoyed a ‘one in a lifetime’ opportunity this week as they put on a unique performance with Scottish Ballet.

On Wednesday, West Dunbartonshire’s Every Voice Choir, led by choir master Bryan Marshall, sang 11 songs for a packed-out audience of friends and family at St Augustine’s Church as part of their annual summer concert.

They were then accompanied for their twelfth and final song, synth-pop band Yazoo’s ‘Only You’, by Scottish Ballet principal dancer Bethany Kingsley-Garner and soloist Evan Loudon who performed a beautiful duet, specially choreographed by soloist Jamiel Laurence.

The performance received a standing ovation and was one of five special wishes granted for community organisations as part of Scottish Ballet’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

But the incredible experience will not end there.

Scottish Ballet will now work with the choir on another special performance that will see the singers join the ballet on stage to conclude a matinee of Christopher Hampson’s new production of The Snow Queen in Edinburgh, later this year.

Read more: Dementia-friendly choir all set for performance with Scottish Ballet

Lesley Cumming, Alzheimer Scotland’s community activity organiser in West Dunbartonshire, who submitted the wish and helped organise the event along with colleague Fiona Kane, told the Reporter: “With the choir singing, the silence and the two dancers out there it was magical.

“I had a tear in my eye and the choir coming off the stage had tears in their eyes. It was a once in a lifetime thing that I wish was happening today, so we could do it all again.”

The show provided a stunning climax to a whirlwind few days, which also saw the choir open the Alzheimer Scotland Annual Conference at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre with three songs: With a Little Help from my friends, African lullaby Thula Sana and Only You.

Following this, Danny McDonald spoke in front of an audience of hundreds of people about his experience living with dementia, while his wife and fellow choir member Catherine spoke about being a carer as part of the National Dementia Carers Action Group.

The choir then delighted members of the public with an hour of singing at Haymarket train station.

Lesley added: “It was a long day, but they loved it. At Haymarket, a lot of people stopped and were singing along and watching, it was lovely.

“Danny and Catherine did an amazing job at the conference. I was really impressed with the way they spoke.”

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