Motown music and mountain rescue might sound like they have little in common but they have both been given the star treatment by a Peebles community choir.
The resultant video is both fun and educational, aiming to raise funds for the hard-working Tweed Valley Mountain Rescue team.
It’s yet another unique initiative from InChorus, which will be well-known to readers, not least for its flashmob in Peebles.
The brainchild of musical director Aly Skidmore, who has been in post for five years but a member of the choir since it started in 2008, she was more than happy to talk us through the concept.
Aly (43) said: “We’ve produced a number of music videos which have more than 20,000 views on YouTube.
“But I was interested in how the fun we have making them could be used to help promote and support another local organisation.
“Within the choir, there was a great deal of support for the local mountain rescue team so I approached them and they were keen to get involved.”
Aly chose three songs to use in a Motown mash-up – Rescue Me, Reach Out (I’ll Be There) and Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.
And in May, some 50 choir members teamed up with the mountain rescue team to create the Tweed Valley Motown Rescue video, with a helping hand from local film-maker Tom Swift.
The plot centres on hapless choir members making their way across hills and valleys to find their new rehearsal venue, only to find themselves in a variety of sticky situations that require the intervention of the rescue team.
Aly said: “Rescue Me was a real gift of a song but, when we started thinking about it, there were a couple of others that really worked too.
“The result is a light-hearted, tongue-in-cheek video featuring members of both groups.
“It’s fun and entertaining, as that really works on social media, but it also carries an important message about the serious and far-reaching work undertaken by voluntary mountain rescue teams across the UK.
“We filmed most of the outdoor scenes in the Innerleithen area, in between rain storms in May, with some scenes set in and around Peebles too.
“Most of it was done in a day but we’ve been working on it since January.
“It’s a great way of not only showcasing the choir and mountain rescue, but the wonderful Scottish Borders scenery too.
“We’d like to thank Tom Swift and Andy Lumb for their work on the video, and Dave Wright and Bob Soutter from the mountain rescue team for their support.
“I’d also like to thank all the choir members for really getting into the spirit – who knew we had so many actors and actresses in our midst!”
The video has already amassed some £300 for the voluntary mountain rescue team but Aly hopes it will go viral and raise much more.
Explaining why, she said: “The Tweed Valley has a thriving outdoor scene, with thousands of people visiting our hills and mountain biking centres, as well as many national and international events.
“The local rescue team is often in attendance and I was amazed to hear about the volunteers’ commitment and of the breadth of tasks in which they become involved in support of the public on a day to day basis.
“The team is available around the clock every day of the year to assist people who are lost, missing or injured.
“They also assist all the other emergency services when necessary. That’s some undertaking.
“But it does cost around £30,000 every year to ensure the team has the equipment and training needed to help members of the public.
“We’re delighted with the amount already raised but would love our video to go viral and perhaps raise the £30,000 needed to fund the team for a year.”
Dave Wright, the local mountain rescue team leader, loved Aly’s idea and was happy to get on board.
He said: “As well as promoting this amazing area, the video draws attention to the wide range of incidents to which the team is regularly called.
“The charity has been serving the community in this way for 50 years now.
“Our team covers a large area – from Edinburgh down to the Northumberland border and from the A68 in the east over to the Dumfries and Galloway county border in the west.
“We appreciated the opportunity to demonstrate what we do using choir members in full song as our people in distress.”
For more information on the choir, visit www.inchoruschoir.co.uk.