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New gift from wondrous Scottish choirs at 9/11 memorials

Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot
Photo Credit: Cliffview Pilot

CLIFFVIEW PILOT SPECIAL: The trio of Scottish choirs who delighted the 9/11 Police Memorial crowd in Manhattan last weekend with a spellbinding performance of both “Amazing Grace” and the “Star Spangled Banner” — as one song — have left us a lovely parting gift.


While they were here, the groups went into Skyline Studios on West 37th Street — where, among others, David Bowie, Eric Clapton, Miles Davis, Steely Dan, Billy Joel, Patti Smith and Madonna have cut records.

The choirs recorded the stirring tribute, which they commonly refer to as “The Gift Song” ( SEE CLIP, BELOW ).

The 120 singers opened their set on Saturday with “Lean on Me” — the perfect choice, given what conductor Andrew Russel said was the purpose of their journey to the States:

The choirs came to New York as a show of compassion by Scotland — bringing with them, in essence, a musical version of the Statue of Liberty.

“We want to share with them in their pain and their grief,” singer Fiona Wilson said before the trip, “but we also want to stand with them as they try to move on and come back stronger.”

Now they’ve tied a lovely bow on their gift, with extraordinary photographs by Kenneth Martin that capture the same intense emotion some of the singers displayed that night, as they wiped away tears:

Some of the singers said they were thinking of 9-year-old Nicholas Gorki, who, during a reading at Ground Zero, told the father he never met: “I love you for loving the idea of having me. You gave me the gift of life and I wish you could be here to enjoy having it with me.”

The melding of songs was Russel’s idea.

His soloists are Ali Bell (“Star Spangled Banner”) and Sophie Dyer (“Amazing Grace”).

The choirs: InChorus, Lothian & Borders Police Choir, Tayside Police Choir.

It took a little more than eight months to raise enough funds for the trip, which included performanances at select other events throughout the city, including a special concert
with the West Yorskhire Police Brass band outside the NYPD museum downtown.

The choirs also sent us a special message via Facebook:

“To stand in New York, and sing, and watch people get overcome with emotion and one particular lady who lost her husband on 9/11 thanking us for being here… it is our honour and our privilege. Overwhelmed, and grateful that life has brought us this opportunity. Thanks for having us New York.”

These are two of the three songs the group sang so beautifully Saturday night:

For the full story on the concert, including videotaped productions by various performers — including the Pipes & Drums bands from Bergen County, the New Jersey State Police, the New York Emerald Society and the Boston Gaelic Column, as well as a moving version of “Into the Fire” by tenor Ronan Tynan:

Bergen, NJSP bands rock 9/11 memorial concert , Ronan T ynan returns

ONLY ON CLIFFVIEW PILOT ( w/VIDEO ) : A night of show-stoppers at New Y ork City’s Town Hall closed with a “moving” finale to the 9/11 memorial benefit concert: a march up Sixth Avenue, as New Yorkers, Bostonians, Canadians, and New Jerseyans all fell together, playing in sync behind the 2nd Marine Aircraft
Wing Band. CLICK HERE….

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