Big Sing proves a huge hit as pupils do Hawick proud

MANSFIELD Park reverberated to the sound of music on Monday as Common-Riding week got off on a perfect note.

The Big Sing was a huge success as almost 2,000 children from primary schools in and around the town and the high school, converged together as a massive community choir.

Immersed in sunshine and with a grand audience of parents, relatives and townsfolk, everyone was in fine voice, from the tiniest of nursery tots to the most senior grandparents watching on.

There was also a very special entrance from Hawick Cornet Michael Davidson and his Lass Kirsteen Hill, who arrived, somewhat nervously, by helicopter, to a heroes welcome.

He said: “I was a bit nervous to start with, but it was great once we got up in the air and coming down into Mansfield, seeing all the bairns waving and hearing them cheering, was just magic.

“Monday is usually a quiet day but that set the tone for the rest of this week.”

Crowds of children and teachers could be seen making their way down Mansfield Road and Hamilton Road to the rugby ground, in eager anticipation of the big event.

And it didn’t disappoint. Compered by local historian Ian Landles, with help from Iain Scott and Davie Chapman, there were fantastic performances from Scocha, Alan Brydon, Lois Niblo, the PSA Male Voice Choir, Hawick Amateur Operatic Society and a brand new Common-Riding song penned by fourth year pupil Kerr Hartop, with music from head of music Jim Letham, which was sung by the high school choir.

While the leading of Up Wi Auld Hawick by Michael Aitken saw the Mansfield Park stand sway one way and the other in time to the chorus.

The event was organised as part of the Vision 2014 project and was the flagship event for the 2011 year of arts and culture. Big Sing sub committee chairman Alan Williamson said: “It was a dream start to Common-Riding week. Great singing, great weather, incredible excitement, lots of cheer and goodwill.”

As well as showing off their fine singing voices, the pupils also helped turn the Mansfield Park stand into a huge Olympic-style display with pieces of blue and gold card and an intricate plan devised by local freelance textiles designer Lesley Turnbull. She said: “It was excellent. All the pupils and their teachers deserve an enormous amount of credit. It was an unbelievable sight.”