On Song!

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If you told, Linlithgow resident, Neil MacTavish a year ago that he would be performing in an Opera concert at this year’s Edinburgh festival, he would have thought you were joking.

But that’s exactly what he is doing as part of Edinburgh group Aria Alba and with a little help from local business man Alan Steel, who is sponsoring their gala night on August 4 at Greyfriars Kirk.

“I have always enjoyed singing, and have been involved in singing groups before, such as through the Linlithgow Rugby Club,” he said.

“But if you told me I would have been singing Opera a year ago, I would have laughed in your face. There is no way I ever thought I would be doing something like this.”

Neil (60) had a change of heart however when the Rugby Club’s Choir received a visit from Aria Alba’s director, Neil Drew.

“Neil Drew came to the club to coach our choir and give us advice,” he said. “It was from that point on that I wanted to test my voice and see how far I could go. I have been given a great opportunity at the age of 60 and I’m hooked.”

“I’m hoping that we can put on a show that everyone will enjoy. The good thing about, our chosen performance, Le Nozze di Figaro is that it is humorous and the songs are well known, so even people who would not normally be interested in Opera will enjoy it too.”

Local financial expert, Alan Steel is sponsoring the event and has covered the £2,500 cost of putting the show together.

“Our connection is through Neil,” Alan said. “He has been a good friend of mine since school so it’s great to help him out.

“We also enjoy supporting local groups and causes, we are not looking for any personal gain, we just want to help local people.”

Director Neil Drew added ‘We are delighted that Alan Steel has chosen to support Aria Alba - Opera for All’s gala performance in Greyfriars Kirk on Saturday.

“Aria Alba is a diverse company united by a commitment to sharing the pleasures of opera and we are grateful for Alan’s generosity.”