On Friday 14 September 2018, members of four Dundee-based community choirs, under the musical directorship of Alice Marra, sang the Deacon Blue song Dignity. Watch the choir perform in the video below.
The following poem was written in collaboration with choir members who sang that evening, edited and arranged by Sue Whistler and Margaret BH Paris.
A moving and fitting part of our opening celebrations, we're touched to be able to share this personal and emotional reflection on one of our favourite moments:
Opening night of the new V&A! Alice said,
Once in a lifetime experience,
our privilege to sing on a global stage.
Momentous, historic occasion –
Almost overwhelming to start.
Jings, crivvens, help ma boab!
Stunning iconic building,
famous from here to Montreal.
Outside - angular, mysterious, grey;
chasm inside - welcoming and warm,
inspiring Dundonians new and old;
monument to the silvery Tay
Smuggled in, hushed and huddled,
hidden from view, one hundred and fifty strong,
secret choir in the ante-room.
Waiting to surprise with a
proud anthem by one of our own;
Dignity in Dundee.
Nerve-wracked, excited, butterflies
Emotional with hope of
A bright future for my city.
Ahffae reilehsation, stannin there, waihin,
Wir ii cappella cwhiiur,
Nae instrimints tae help us oot, jist oor voices!
Steely blue, a river flowing
starting small, confidence growing,
filling the cavernous space. Vast.
Voices swirling up to the gallery
creating magic between
the city's future and its past.
Breathtaking cheering, whistling, clapping;
gave me goosebumps, like something snapping.
Greeting like wee lassies, bursting with pride.
Eh wus convinced when eh opened meh mooth
nae soohnd whud come oot.
Bhu Dignity didni lih iz doon.
Aspirations of the council worker;
of all who toil thanklessly
for the dream of a better way of living
reflect our ambitions
for this amazing, creative city.
Singing, staking our claim, we are Dundee.
It was my birthday, it was fun,
wouldn't have missed it for the world
Proud of the impressive sound;
our choir, our collaboration, our community.
Returning belief in my creative abilities -
Strong bonds and Dignity empowering me.
Moments in rehearsal ever etched;
shared aim, relationships strengthened.
Cunnehktin wie ane in ithir, behin whaurr
Ane boadie, three perts, catched in time
Oor ancesturs whur aah here inah
Timeless experiences endure.
I shall always smile at the memory,
Share the day I sang with future family
My grandchildren will say
My Grandma sang at the opening
Of that beautiful building.
Historic event, outstanding day.
This belongs to the people of Dundee
Art and culture for us all, not the few;
Native and adopted, enriches our lives.
Meh toon, oor museum o Skohtish design,
Fur abudee, wee'r guid uh sharehin!
Proud to be a Dundonian.
Voices of Duende Voices, Loadsaweeminsingin’, Lochee Linties and The Noteables
“We had a wonderful time working on the arrangement of Dignity. It was a fantastic way of getting so many Dundonians involved in the opening of the building and it was extremely emotional to watch 150 of them belt out the song in such fabulous surroundings.”
To celebrate our nomination for Art Fund Museum of the Year 2019, we want to thank everyone involved in making V&A Dundee possible. From the initial idea, to the first visitor, to how we're working to make the museum the very best it can be.