Pop-up choir’s musical tonic just what the doctor ordered

Music and laughter proved just the tonic when folk flooded through the doors of St Columba’s Kirk for a ‘pop-up concert’ organised by a visiting GP.

Veronica McBurnie led the Sing For Joy concert in Lerwick on Wednesday night, with about 40 singers exercising their vocal chords.

Some £800 was raised for From Shetland With Love, helping children orphaned or abandoned because of HIV/Aids-related illness and violence.

Dr McBurnie, a passionate singer and musician, pulled in choral musicians, both experienced and new to take part in the event.

The wide-ranging programme featured familiar songs Moon River, Auld Lang Syne and a feel-good Bob Marley tune thrown in for good measure.

All after only two rehearsals beforehand.

Local musicians also performed on the night, including a sparkling rendition of Colours of the Wind from 11-year-old Cat McCreadie, fiddle tunes from fellow GP Catherine Brown and enchanting clarsach from Kirsty North.

Midwife Emma Courtier was one of the singers who took part and was all smiles after the show.

“Veronica is an inspiration,” she said.

“None of us could have done it without her.

“She is so nice and enthusiastic. Me, I’m a person that can’t sing but I very much enjoyed it and I think she just nurtures that enjoyment.

“I think it’s great when people have come from different backgrounds and we have joined together for two rehearsals to create something which is fun.

“I think it showed that singing can be for everyone.”

Cat said she really enjoyed singing at the concert and was keen to sing more choral music in future.

“I would say it was quite good because there were lots of different voices.”

There was clearly a feelgood factor from the musicians and the audience at the gig, with a collective force of choral music.

“That’s why it’s medicine,” smiled Dr McBurnie.

“You could see it in people’s faces. It’s a wall of energy coming at you [from the choir] and it’s a privilege to facilitate that.”

And since visiting Shetland she’s been struck by the quality of the local music scene.

“It’s a hotbed for music. Everybody here is so talented, it’s clearly a wonderful, vibrant music scene and dipping into that was like opening a pot of gold.”


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