The annual Morrison’s Academy Christmas Choral Concert took place at the splendid Perth Concert Hall.

Music plays a central role in the life of Morrison’s Academy, with pupils performing regularly in assemblies, at interhouse events, for the wider community or just with each other for the pleasure of making music together.

This concert saw over half of the pupils at the school performing in at least one of the choirs or musical ensembles. It had a warm family atmosphere, with the wider Morrison’s community of family, staff and friends joining pupils both on stage and in the audience. And with the musical offering ranging from exquisite vocal and instrumental solos to fusion music with voices, pipes and Celtic rock, the audience enjoyed a Christmas concert with many innovative twists.

Having been met by the school’s pipers playing in the snow outside Perth Concert Hall, once seated inside the audience were treated to the school’s jazz band playing ‘Baby, It’s Cold Outside’ with Jamie McLaren and Abigail Johnston duetting as a duet singing and dancing across the stage.

Next up was a fusion arrangement of the Pogues’ Fairy Tale of New York’ with the school’s Celtic Rock band and pipers joining the Academy Choir. There were further choral pieces performed by the Senior Girls’ Choir, and the Boys’ and Girls’ Chamber Choirs, as well as Mocha, the school’s ever-growing parent and staff choir, who sang an arrangement by the Piano Boys of ‘O Come, O Come, Emmanuel’ with a moving cello accompaniment by Mrs Susan Smart.

It was then the chance for the school’s instrumental performers to take centre stage. The String Orchestra delighted the audience with a Celtic Christmas Medley. This was followed by a stunning performance of Vivaldi’s Flute Concerto in F Major by the Chamber Orchestra with soloist Lauren Burrowes. Leader of the orchestra Libby Dillon was joined by Rose Logan to add the violin solos with professional poise and skill.

Finally the major work of the evening was John Rutter’s powerful and uplifting ‘Feel the Spirit’, a piece in seven movements, each being a superb arrangement of a well-known gospel tune. The work showcased the combined choirs and instrumentalists of Primary 4 to 6, Transitional and the Senior School and gave all the musicians the chance to shine.

Abigail Johnston took to the stage again to sing a beautiful mezzo soprano solo in ‘Steal Away, whilst Jamie Christie’s resonant and vibrant tenor solo ‘I got a robe’ and Laura MacDonald’s joyful soprano solo ‘Every time I feel the spirit’ captured the gospel vibe perfectly.

These were movingly juxtaposed by the youngest soloist, Abbie Heath in S1, whose angelic voice soared over the combined choirs in ‘Sometime I feel like a motherless child.’ Finally Conall Strickland performed a hearty baritone solo of one of the most famous of all gospel tunes, ‘Deep River’. There were opportunities too for senior instrumentalists to add virtuoso touches with Joseph Dillon’s Dixieland-style clarinet playing and Erin Gibson, also on clarinet, adding depth and further ‘voices’ to the mix and the overall sound was given greater depth and range by the full string and chamber orchestras and senior jazz musicians.

It was an altogether fantastic evening of professional quality musicianship enjoyed by both performers and audience in equal measure. The encore ‘The Bell Carol’ typified the eclectic range of music on offer throughout the concert and raised the roof with its final ‘Ding, Dong, Ding.’