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The Invergordon Archive

Mr Kerr's Choir
The Invergordon Archive
Mr Kerr's Choir

This photograph was taken in the 1950s and shows Mr Kerr's Choir. Perhaps someone can help put names to the faces?

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Picture added on 12 October 2008
Back Row (Left - Right):? Crombie, Ishbel Mackenzie, Ishbel Grant, Ann Simpson, ?, Catherine Mackenzie, Veronica Macpherson?, ?, Sheena Mackintosh.
Centre Row: Alan Crombie, ?, Helen Ross, Sheena Mackenzie, ?, Christine White, ? Ross, ? Macallister, Jeanette ?, ?.
Front Row: ?, Harry O'Neill, Alick Fowler, Sheila Morrison, Helen Archibald, Mr Kerr, ?, Margaret O'Neill, Audrey Geddes, Mary Macleod.
Added by Sheena Mackenzie on 12 October 2008
I never thought that I would see this choir again and I would date the picture 1949-50. I know some of them. Back row 3rd in from left looks like Ishbel Grant. Back row 4th from right is Catherine Mackenzie.
Middle row, 1st on left, looks like Charlie Collins. 3rd in from left Helen Ross; next to her is Sheena Mackenzie. 1st on the right middle row is Eileen Andrews.
Front row 2nd in is myself and next I think is Alec Fowler; next is Sheila Morrison. I think it is Rosalie Graham on the right next to Mr Kerr, then my sister Margaret O'Neill, next Audrey Geddes and Mary Macleod on the end.
The rest look familiar but I am unable to put names to the faces.
My sister says this was taken in Dingwall.
I remember we made it on a BBC broadcast one time.
Mr Kerr lived in Beauly and came up to Invergordon for choir practices which were held in the chapel behind the main church.
I remember one time singing in the church on a special occasion both Margaret and I had a solo part. She did fine but when it came to my bit nothing came out and she took over.
Jim Maclennan used to do the accompaniment on the piano and on the organ in the church. I remember a lady playing the piano too but can't recall her name.

Rosalie, if that is you in the picture is Amelia Muckle in it too?

Great picture Sheena, thanks.
Added by Harry O'neill on 13 October 2008
Sheena, great picture! Harry, I recognised you straight away and your sister, Margaret.
The back row from the left is Dorothy Crombie, Ishbel Mackenzie, Ishbel Grant, Ann Simpson, ?, Catherine Mackenzie, Veronica Macpherson, ?, and Sheena Mackintosh.
Middle row is Alan Crombie, ?, Helen Ross, Sheena Mackenzie, ?, Christine White, Margaret Ross, Rose Macallister, Janette Graham and Eileen Andrews.
The front row is as Harry says but I'm not sure if that is me beside Mr Kerr(!!) although I was in the choir. Amelia Muckle is not in this picture, but she was also in the choir, Harry.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 18 October 2008
I can remember the recording being made, in Invergordon Church, for the BBC broadcast. The sound engineer couldn't understand what the clicking noise was that accompanied the music in his headphones. The interference turned out to be coming from Mr Kerr's false teeth as he mouthed words whilst conducting the choir.
Added by Sheena (Mackenzie) Beeham on 22 October 2008
Girl in front row on Mr Kerr's left looks very like Helen Archibald.
Added by Duncan Murray on 23 October 2008
Sheena, if I remember correctly we sang "Handel's Largo" with the opening word of "once" being held for 7 beats!!
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 24 October 2008
Looking at my sister Audrey in this picture she looks like she sneaked in from another generation! Was Mr Kerr the person who held classes in the Church Hall? Does anyone remember the abortive production of the Operetta "Princess Chrysanthemum"? I ducked out of a leading part because rehearsals were on a Monday night and clashed with "Journey into Space" on the BBC Light Programme.
Added by Bill(y) Geddes on 25 October 2008
Hi Billy - yes remember that operetta, it never got off the ground for some reason. Yes it's the same Mr Kerr, the one and only.
Added by Harry O'neill on 26 October 2008
What a surprise to see this photo! It was a memorable occasion for me - my first solo ("When Grandpa Was A Little Girl Like Me!") in front of a full house concert audience in Dingwall. I was taken aback when the audience applauded and called for "more" and Mr. Kerr (in his concert regalia), who had accompanied me on the grand piano on stage, nodded and we did it one more time! I remember too the BBC Christmas time broadcast, when we (the junior choir) opened the programme with "O Little Town of Bethlehem". Invergordon had some excellent choirs - led by competent conductors such as Mr. Kerr and Miss Nicholl, the music teacher at Invergordon Academy. Handel's "Largo" was a favourite of my grandmother, Mrs. Mary-Ann Dunn, a great lady, who often would ask Harry and I to sing it for her a capella, whilst she sat in her fireside chair, knitting. The junior choir's rendition was outstanding - "Once (held for four beats), followed by three more beats "more to thee" (seven beats in all, as mentioned by Rosalie) - "Father of all; bend we adoring, seeking thy blessing before we part; children are we, made in thine image; destined to work and love and be like thee; O lift thou upon us, lift thou upon us; the light of thy glory that our souls and bodies may be thine, O Lord; yeah may be thine, O Lord; here Lord we bring to thee, all we are and hope to be - thine eternally".
It was unfortunate that, for some reason to which we youngsters were not privy, the operetta, "Princess Chrysanthemum", did not materialise - although, as mentioned by Bill(y) the cast had been chosen (my friend and duet partner, Helen Angus (nee Ross) was to be the lead, Princess Chrysanthemum, and I was cast as some sort of fairy queen) and several rehearsals had taken place.
This overall site is remarkable and I congratulate its instigators. I've thoroughly enjoyed viewing all of the photos and reading all of the comments, laughing at some and shedding a few tears at others. Fortunately, Canada has a very strong link to Scotland - many cities/towns holding their own annual Highland Games, and I am proud to state, when asked, that I was born in Invergordon and educated at Invergordon Academy and Rigfoot Secretarial College in Inverness, Scotland.
Added by Margaret Weys (nee O'Neill) on 20 November 2008
It’s coming back to me through the mists of time....In Princess Chrysanthemum I was cast as Prince So-True - I believe the baddy was Prince So-Sly. I wasn’t comfortable about playing the goody two shoes hero as I knew I was actually quite a naughty boy. I was hopeless at the love duets as I could not hold to my own tune, maybe I could not concentrate through being so close to an attractive girl. Can’t remember who it was...Joan Dryden perhaps?
Added by Bill Geddes on 20 November 2008
Margaret, it is great to see your name here and your comment. Miss Nicholl was such a good music teacher. I remember her asking me to sing solos but only when you were busy doing something else!!!! Mr Kerr was very proud of his choir and rightly so. When I look back, as I frequently do, we all didn't do badly in the way of opportunities, and, like you I am so proud of being an Invergordonian. I well remember your Granny knitting and dressing lots of dolls for charity and never ever boasted about it. She was a good lady.
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 20 November 2008
Was the Mr Kerr in the picture Mr Kerr, or was he actually Mr Curr the choirmaster from Conon Bridge?
Added by Ronald Stewart on 21 November 2008
Yes, Ronald, you are correct! He was indeed Mr. Curr from Conon Bridge. I'm afraid I followed suit with the others. All we like sheep have gone astray .....!
Added by Margaret Weys (nee O'Neill) on 22 November 2008
Ronald, always knew him as Mr Kerr and he was from Beauly.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 22 November 2008
Ronald, like Margaret I followed suit with the others calling him Mr Kerr but we all knew we belonged to "Curr's Choir". Regardless of the name it was a really good choir and we all enjoyed being part of it. I was not sure if that was me on Mr. Curr's left but I am assured by my sister (Janette Graham) that it is indeed me!!!
Duncan, Helen Archibald is on his right!!
Added by Rosalie (Graham) Samaroo on 23 November 2008
Nope Harry, his name was definitely Curr (first name - James?) and he was definitely from Conon Bridge, was married and had a daughter. He always arrived at the church for practices by car. He didn't drive himself - he had a "chauffeur" and he (i.e. Mr. Curr) sat in the back seat. Don't argue with your big sister!
Added by Margaret Weys (nee O'Neill) on 23 November 2008
Margaret and Harry, please curtail these sibling tiffs. Since I started the disagreement I'll finish it: - James Curr (choir master) died in Dingwall in 1993 at the grand old age of 92.
Added by Sheena on 24 November 2008
Good to get the name sorted out, it was the story of the false teeth that convinced me it could only have been Mr Curr.
My mother was in one of his choirs, but I was just a little too young at the time!
Added by Ronald Stewart on 24 November 2008
Rosalie, so that is you in picture, thought so, at least I got that right. It is true, you learn something new everyday. OK Margaret.
Added by Harry O'Neill on 24 November 2008
Amelia Muckle was in Invergordon Academy same time as myself. I went to Rigfoot in 1955 and I think Amelia did also!
Added by Mary Dufficy (nee Taylor) on 23 September 2015
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