Jul 27 2011 by Johnathon Menzies, Stirling Observer Wednesday
LOCAL singer Annie Smart got the chance to rub shoulders with country music legend Dolly Parton during a recent appearance on national TV.
The Cambusbarron resident (31), co-founder of the Stirling-based Heart of Scotland Choir, took a trip to Nashville to meet the singing idol and then performed hit track Here You Come Again with fellow choir members on the BBC’s Tonight’s The Night.
Nominated for the prime-time show by her sister Jane Hamilton, a fellow member of the successful ensemble, music teacher Annie told the Observer she couldn’t believe her ears when host John Barrowman revealed she’d been chosen for a spell in the spotlight.
“I was gobsmacked, I really was,” she said. “To get the chance to go out to Nashville and get a singing lesson from Dolly Parton, who’s my idol, really was a dream come true.
“I was nominated by Jane, but the show’s producers said she could travel out to America with me – it was great to have her there and I can’t thank her enough.
“The lesson itself was great. Dolly knew the choir would be singing Here You Come Again on the show. She told me to relax, enjoy myself and to picture the audience naked to stop me from getting nervous!”
Following the siblings’ trip across the Atlantic in the middle of June, the Heart of Scotland Choir’s rendition of the 1977 classic track was televised on Saturday, July 9.
“We did the filming for the performance over a weekend at the BBC’s studios in Glasgow. I think we were all absolutely terrified to be honest, but I made sure I kept in mind what Dolly told me during my lesson,” Annie explained.
“Our family were watching in the audience. It was great to know they were there, it made it all the more special for us.”
The 85-member choir’s appearance on the hit variety showcase capped a whirlwind few months for the group.
They have previously performed at Stirling’s Hogmanay celebrations, the city’s Albert Halls and the annual Scribbler’s Picnic fundraiser, as well as at other events elsewhere in the country.
Formed in October last year, Annie revealed plans are afoot to create a junior chorus for children aged seven to 15, in a bid to expand the group’s reach.
“Some of the adults involved in the choir have genuinely said they think singing with us has been life-changing for them – in terms of what it’s done for their confidence, for example – and we want to pass that on to local children,” she concluded.
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