For nearly two decades, the glitz and glamour of stagelife has returned year after year to Kirkland High School, all under the watchful eye of principal teacher of music, Alison Flemming.
And now, in the school’s 50th year, the annual extravaganza is back with a bang... and a few familiar faces from shows gone by.
‘Golden Moments’, which starts its four-night run at the school next Tuesday, is a celebration of Kirkland High throughout the last five decades, and as well as over 100 current pupils, the show will also feature past pupils and staff members who have all appeared in a Kirkland show at some point in the last twenty years.
Alison explained: “Because it’s our 50th year, we wanted to do something special. I had actually already planned a show like this for our last year in 2016, but Ronnie Ross, the head, convinced me to do it for our 50th anniversary.
“I put out a call to past pupils on Facebook and got in touch with as many as I could, and people got back to me really quickly to say they would do it. I had a huge response.”
Thanks to the enthusiasm of so many of the past Kirkland pupils, each night of the show will feature guest acts performing a number from the past alongside musical and dance numbers performed by current pupils, with the week culminating in a gala evening on Friday, June 26.
We have a great following of local people who might not even have a connection to the school, but who come to the show every yearAlison Flemming
As well as some Kirkland alumni who have gone on to study music, including Neil Anderson, Colin Malcolm and Siobhan Glendinning, there are a few who will be picking up the microphone for the first time since last appearing on the Kirkland stage, including policeman Craig Aitken and former history teacher Peter Bain, who is now head at Oban High School, who will be performing with a fellow ex-Kirkland teacher, Stuart Bell.
“We have all sorts of people who have agreed to be involved, which is brilliant,” said Alison, who has been at Kirkland since 1996, and was awarded the Kingdom FM teacher of the year last August. “It’s been like bringing the whole community together.”
“I feel so lucky that I get to come into work everyday and do what I do. To have started the year with the award, and to be finishing it like this, it has just been a huge year.
Since joining the faculty nearly 20 years ago, Alison has helped to put on 22 shows - a summer show every year plus two pantomimes - and there have been a number of themes, from Stars in their Eyes, to Legends, and a Night at the Oscars. “Literally hundreds of kids have been involved in the show in one way or another and that’s great, because it’s so good for their confidence.”
Alison was quick to highlight the mass of support she receives every year - “It is a big huge team effort”. From her music department colleague Lawrie McAlpine, to other departments within the school which construct props, decorate sets, alter costumes, produce the programme and sell tickets, the Kirkland show really is a whole school effort. And not only that, people from the local community are also heavily involved, from hair and makeup, to dance choreography to those who come back to support the show year after year.
“We have a great following of local people who might not even have a connection to the school, but who come to the show every year – there are some people who just won’t miss it, and that’s great for the kids to get that recognition.”
And of course, there would be no show without the hard work of all the pupils involved, from the performers to those working back stage.
“All of the kids really step up to the mark,” said Alison. “They all work so hard, and you might see them being all giggly in rehearsal, but when you come in for the show, it’s like they have changed over night! They take it so seriously and they want it to be good.”
In just 12 months time, Kirkland will be weeks from closure, as the new merged Levenmouth High School will open its doors to pupils in August 2016. But this isn’t a “last gasp” for the Kirkland show, said Alison, and it is something she is determined to carry on for years to come.
“I started this off as just a wee music department thing, and each year it has grown and grown.
“If I have anything to do with it, we fully intend to take the show to the new school and go in with a big bang for the first year.”