THE musical talents of young people in Musselburgh were showcased at this year’s Citizen of the Year award ceremony.
Organised annually by Musselburgh and Inveresk Community Council, it was decided not to select a Citizen of the Year for 2016 but instead to invite former Citizens of the Year to a reception at Venue 2 in The Brunton last Wednesday evening.
Two framed certificate awards were presented by the community council to the Clark Concert Party and Our Lady of Loretto Youth Players as the legacy of their founders, former Citizens of the Year, continues.
This was in recognition of all the hard work, dedication and commitment that goes into their annual productions.
Irene Tait, community council chairwoman, said: “The Citizen of the Year award, which started in 2001, is given to people who have given up their own free time to help others, whether it is in a club, church of simply by being a good neighbour.”
She gave a roll call of the Citizens of the Year, adding: “Sadly you will have heard a few names of people who are no longer with us today.”
Celebrated war veteran Dr Tom Renouf MBE, who died last year, was represented at the event by his wife Kathleen. He was Citizen of the Year in 2005, jointly with Janie McGregor.
The late Ann Proudfoot, who was chairwoman at the Hollies Day Centre, was represented by her son Alan and daughter-in-law Liz.
Robert Clark, founder of the Clark Concert Party in 1959 aged 16, received the Citizen of the Year award jointly with Mrs Proudfoot in 2008. He was represented by his sisters Jean Innes and and Nancy Clark, and the Clark Community Concert Party.
The late Roy McGillivray, Citizen of the Year in 2012 for his services to music, was represented by Our Lady of Loretto Youth Players, which he established along with Margaret McPake.
The Clark Concert Party gave a performance from its show ‘Robin Hood’, which took place last week at the Loretto Senior School Theatre. This included Robin, played by Rebecca Williams, and Marion, played by Honour MacLeod, singing the Bryan Adams hit (Everything I Do) I Do It For You from the Holywood hit Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. James Forrest as Will Scarlet was also a soloist and the cast ended with the concert party’s signature song ‘I Understand'.
Our Lady of Loretto Youth Players took to the stage to sing songs from the musicals Avenue Q, Annie, Oliver and Bugsy Malone among other works. They also performed Skid Row from Little Shop of Horrors - their show planned for next February at The Brunton.
Actress Betty Ramsden, community council vice-chairman, who has starred as an extra in films such as The Railway Man, Sunshine on Leith and Filth, paid tribute to young people in the Musselburgh area and the volunteers who worked with them.
She said: “It has been been a very enjoyable evening, with both groups entertaining us with such talent. It is great to see the youth doing so much. We also thank the musical directors and volunteers in the background who give up their time and encourage these youngsters.”
Lorna Stewart, chairman of Our Lady of Loretto Youth Players, said: “On behalf of everyone who so freely give their time to Our Lady of Loretto Youth Players, we are delighted to accept this award in recognition of our commitment to the young people of Musselburgh and surrounding areas.
“Our group has gone from strength to strength over the last 28 years, providing children between the ages of 10 and 18 the chance to come together, no matter what their talents and abilities, to become stronger and more confident, and to be able to communicate with each other and their peers. Hundreds of children have benefited from our group and this is the only thing we need, to continue with our hard work and efforts.”
She paid tribute to Mr McGillivray who passed away in December, saying: “Roy was a very proud owner of the Citizen of the Year Award and we miss him greatly. He would be so proud.”
Irene Grant, who played the Clark Community Concert Party’s first Snow White at the age of six, accepted the award on its behalf at the ceremony.
“This is a massive honour. Thousands of children have benefited from the concert party. Robert also took children out to the theatre, swimming and bus trips. He was just amazing,” she added.