Start spreading the news . . police choir will be a part of it

Chief Inspector Andrew Russel leads rehearsals to commemorate 9/11

Chief Inspector Andrew Russel leads rehearsals to commemorate 9/11

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IT will certainly be among the more unusual tributes paid to the victims of 9/11.

Flashmob singing events are to be performed by Lothian and Borders police officers in the best-known streets of New York, as part of the memorials taking place to mark the 10th anniversary of the World Trade Centre attacks.

The officers are part of a 180-strong choir today heading to the US to perform an emotional rendition of The Star Spangled Banner merged with Amazing Grace as part of the remembrance service on Sunday.

Although they do not yet know if they will be performing at Ground Zero due to security reasons, the choir has planned giant singing flashmobs – or flashchoirs – in locations including Wall Street, Grand Central Station and Times Square.

The choir, which includes 53 officers, plus members from Peebles Community Choir and Tayside Police Choir, is set to perform eight organised flashchoirs and is planning several impromptu performances across the Big Apple over the five-day trip.

On the anniversary itself, they are due to perform their song in a commemorative service at the British Memorial Garden, designed to remember Britons that lost their lives, including three Scots.

Chief Inspector Andrew Russel, musical director of the choirs, said the members were singing for New York as a “gift” from the people of Scotland and to show their compassion for what happened.

He said: “There are a couple of Americans in the choir and one suggested doing something for 9/11.

“We’ve got eight flashmobs planned, but the truth is there will be a lot more than that.

“When we’re in large groups, we’ll just do it. Some will involve choir members only, while at other times those carrying instruments within the crowds, posing as passers-by, will suddenly start playing.

“Doing the flashes will allow us to gift this music to as many people as possible. We want to highlight our compassion and respect for the lives lost.

“We don’t want anything for it, not a single donation. We hope the music will be both reflective and show we are living together with hope.

“It’s a genuine privilege to be contributing to such an important and sensitive anniversary.”

The choirs have worked over the past year in their spare time to raise more than £100,000 to fund the trip.

Moira Pearson, head of Peebles Choir, known as InChorus, added: “We want to add an element of positivity and show a sense of hope.”

vraimes@edinburghnews.com