IT’S a heart-string tugging solo that’s had audiences at the Tattoo reaching for their hankies – but one audience member in particular will be struggling to keep her emotions in check this evening.
Amazing Archie Goodburn, 12, who will be watched tonight by grandmother Ann Goodburn, has become the youngest soloist to ever appear at Tattoo in its 64-year history. He is appearing alongside fellow pupils from Erskine Stewart’s Melville School Choir, who have also made history by becoming the first school choir to perform at the event.
The primary seven pupil, also a Scottish swimming champion, has become one of the standout moments with his performance of the Louis Armstrong classic, Wonderful World.
Delighted coach parties and tourists afterwards have all been full of gushing praise for the pint-sized warbler who admits performing nightly in front of 8,800 people is nerve-shredding.
He said: “I have to wait backstage while the rest of the choir sings two songs, then I come out to do the solo. Standing back there on the first night I was absolutely wracked with nerves, but I’m enjoying it much more now.”
But one person looking forward to tonight’s emotional performance more than most is overjoyed granny Ann.
She said: “I was so proud when he told me he would be performing the song, and I played the original version for him.
“I asked if he wanted to sing along but he said ‘I’d just have to be patient’. His parents hadn’t even heard him sing it before they went to the preview night. It’ll be quite emotional when I see it.”
Archie has been swimming since the age of three and is a member of Warrender Swimming Club, picking up a gold medal at the Scottish Schools Swimming Competition in February.
The talented youngster believes the breathing control he’s learned in the pool also comes in handy on stage.
He said: “It probably has made my lungs stronger. I seem to be able to hold a note longer than a lot of the other boys in the choir.”
And he’s hoping news of his solo performance may reach the ears of one of his own singing heroes, who just happens to live near the Capital.
“I really like Susan Boyle, especially when she sang ‘I Dreamed a Dream’,” he said. “I would love to sing with her one day, she’s got an amazing voice.”
The 50-strong ESMS choir, who are aged between 10 and 13, also includes Archie’s younger sister Katie, ten.
Archie’s headmaster Bryan Lewis praised the “talent and commitment” it takes to sing in front of “8800 people every night”.
A spokesman for this year’s event, which is not yet quite a sell out, said he’s “going down a storm”.
Audience of 100 million worldwide
• The first Tattoo took place in 1950 and since then has been seen by more than 12 million people.
• Its annual audience is estimated at 217,000, 70 per cent of whom are tourists.
• The Tattoo was first broadcast on colour TV in 1968 and is now watched by 100 million people a year worldwide. n Rehearsals for the show take place at Redford Barracks on Colinton Road.
• At the last independent count it was estimated visitors to the Tattoo contribute £88m a year to the Scottish economy. n The word “tattoo” comes from the closing-time cry in the inns in the Low Countries during the 17th and 18th centuries - ‘Doe den tap toe’ (‘Turn off the taps’).