Musical society celebrates 95th anniversary with School of Rock show

Downfield Musical Society will mark its milestone with a show at Dundee's Whitehall Theatre next week.

A musical society is celebrating entertaining the Dundee public for almost a century with a performance of School of Rock.

Downfield Musical Society will perform the show at the city’s Whitehall Theatre next week as it celebrates its 95th anniversary before their annual pantomime, Sleeping Beauty in December.

There are 95 years of history pasted across the walls of the in the old hydro club.

Graeme Smith has been at the heart of it for decades.

He told STV News: “I’ve been writing the panto and directing it since around about 1986. The panto is huge, somewhere around 5,000 to 10,000 people come to see the panto.

“Panto is great, I always think that it is the first time a child gets to come to theatre and they get so involved.

“It’s great fun to be involved in. I mean, I was involved in 1976 and loved it ever since.”

The celebrations continue next week with most of the societies younger members taking part in School of Rock. The show runs from Wednesday September 27 until September 30.

Not only have they learnt the lyrics and the scripts, but some have even picked up an instrument for the first time.

Matthew Millar, who plays ‘Dewey Finn’, said: “It’s seeing the difference in the kids who are a part of this show, having seen them when they turned up to audition.

“The amount of confidence that they’ve got, the relationships that they have formed, it is astounding to see the change in them in just a matter of months.

“It gives them something to work towards and be proud of, and be a part of a community.”

Bethany Whylie 12, Lexi McLaggan 12, and Murdo McGill, 11, each have a starring role in the play.

Bethany said: “It’s really fun to be a part of. I love musical theatre so much and have been doing it for so long.”

Graeme Smith has been a part of the society for nearly 50 years

Lexy said: “Its an amazing opportunity and it is so fun. You make so many friends here, just amazing.”

“It is so amazing to be a part of the show, I don’t have any favourite parts because it is all just so good,” Murdo added.

And the society is only on the way up – they have more productions in the works and are not planning on stopping any time soon.

Graeme added: “95 years is a great feat, but we are looking forward to getting to 100 as well. That’s going to be a big celebration.

“But before that, we’ve got five years of shows going up. Next year we have Guys and Dolls and Made in Dagenham and we’re always looking forward to new productions.

“I think its just the enjoyment of being involved in these shows. 100 years is going to be a great experience, it’s just going to be brilliant.”

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