THIS year marks a double celebration for Glasgow Phoenix Choir - not only is it celebrating its diamond jubilee, but its conductor Marilyn Smith was made an MBE by the Queen, who is also marking a special 60th anniversary.
The Bearsden woman, right, who is in her 20th year as conductor and is also the choir’s music director, was named in the New Year Honours list.
Marilyn (59), who originally comes from London but has lived in Bearsden for the past 39 years, said: “I am extremely honoured to receive this prestigious award and would like to thank the musicians and choristers I have worked with over so many years, those who have nominated me for this award and every member of the Glasgow Phoenix Choir, past and present.”
The 2011/12 season marks 110 years of musical excellence for the choir - 50 Years of its predecessor the Glasgow Orpheus Choir and now 60 years of the Glasgow Phoenix Choir.
Under Marilyn’s leadership the Glasgow Phoenix Choir has flourished and now has a global reputation as one of the foremost mixed voice choirs in the UK - it has performed throughout Scotland, the UK, Europe and the USA.
The choir’s reputation has been further enhanced by the generous sponsorship of The Co-operative Funeralcare which has allowed them to raise significant funds for a wide variety of charitable projects and promote the joy of singing, which is at the forefront of everything they do.
Marilyn has also been a major advocate for young people and has wherever possible created performance opportunities for them with the choir in major concert venues.
George Tinning, managing director of The Co-operative Funeralcare, which has supported the choir since 2007, said: “Marilyn has been deservedly recognised for the way in which she has helped to spread choral music across Scotland. This honour is particularly fitting for choir’s charitable activities and the work that she has done in encouraging young people to get involved in choral music.”
Marilyn was appointed conductor and musical director of Glasgow Phoenix Choir in 1991.
Trained at the Royal Academy of Music in London, she gained her LRAM and professional certificate in singing before moving to Scotland in 1973.
She sang professionally as a soloist, and with Scottish Opera, the Royal Scottish National Orchestra Chorus, the Scottish Chorus and the John Currie Singers.
Marilyn is in demand as a choral trainer and teaches singing at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and Glasgow University.
Her first time conducting was with a very successful junior choir in London, and in Scotland, she trained and conducted children’s and adult choirs before her appointment to the Glasgow Phoenix Choir.
She has made many recordings with the Glasgow Phoenix Choir and toured Europe, the UK and USA. Marilyn also regularly adjudicates at music festivals including the National Mod.