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Girl choir scoop national singing award

Evergreen on the beach - "our rehearsals are such a laugh". From left: teacher Maria Barclay, Nicole Coutts, Sophie Morris, Laura Brannan, Rachel Keay and Rebecca Millar. Photo Dave Donaldson

A YOUNG female choir from Shetland’s south mainland has scooped a prestigious national award for their dialect singing.

The five 15 year old Anderson High School pupils who formed Evergreen in 2010 were awarded the first ever Young People award for under 25s in the Hands Up For Trad Chorus awards on Friday.

The group started dialect singing in P4 under the tutelage of dialect singing teacher Maria Barclay who brought them together as a group five years ago.

Since then they have been regulars at various charity events and Shetland Folk Festival, and featured in the 2010 Hamefarin celebrations and the 2013 Our Islands, Our Future conference in Kirkwall.

The group named themselves Evergreen after the Rhoda Bulter poem, which was set to music by their teacher’s father and local dialect singer Eddie Barclay.

Maria said it was “a bit of an accolade” and the group were “absolutely delighted” with the award.

“The fact it’s a national award is special and a recognition of all the hard work they have put in,” she said.

“Preserving the dialect is such a big part of society up here and we are just thrilled that this has been acknowledged.

“The thing though is that the girls are just so enthusiastic and our rehearsals are such a laugh it’s really good fun to be doing this.”

Evergreen are planning to contribute to a third CD of dialect songs produced by their teacher that she uses in classrooms throughout the isles.

Other than that they are just planning to expand their repertoire and keep on singing at public events, like last weekend’s Lifeboat gala.

Here they are singing with Hom Bru at the 2014 Shetland Folk Festival – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgoXawg0Vx4