A quiz and karaoke night is just one of the fundraising efforts by a Nairn secondary school teacher to help Highland Hospice.
Jennifer Urquhart, who lives in the countryside outside the town, is one of nine finalists in this year’s Ness Factor singing competition.
She stresses that she is not a music teacher and said that she was moved to take part in the contest because of how much the hospice has helped family and friends.
The 51-year-old said: “It is such an important part of our community and I want to support its invaluable work.
“When I read about it earlier this year, I thought about my late mam and how she would have encouraged me to give it a try, as she enjoyed hearing me sing.
“I wish she was here to enjoy this excitement with me – she would have loved the Ness Factor final.”
Her Quiz and Karaoke Night was at The Carisbrooke, Forres, on Friday, October 21, and the quizmaster was Douglas Cowie from Forres.
After the teams fought it out for the title of Ness Factor Quiz Champions of 2022 they got the karaoke going so that everyone had a chance to be a singing star.
She is also holding a karaoke event at R&Bs tonight which starts at 9.30pm.
Mrs Urquhart, who is originally from Forres, said that the solo and group singing lessons were helping her to improve and added: “I had never had a singing lesson before this, so I had lots of bad habits.
“Who knew it would be so difficult to remember to breathe when singing? The group lessons are particularly good fun, as we have all bonded really well as a group and really enjoy the Sunday morning sessions with Tony Henry.
“My individual coach is Fiona Forbes,who is a brilliant teacher – she is very patient with me, and has pushed me to be more daring with my vocals. Fiona makes me work hard and have fun at the same time.”
She said she was enjoying the experience and added: “Being part of the Ness Factor still seems like a bit of a dream – an enjoyable one, not a nightmare.
“I am really looking forward to the final on Saturday, November 12, and to being part of something totally different for me.
“When I’m not working, I am either walking dogs, looking after and riding my horses, or running long-distance events, so certainly not used to sequins and spray tans!”
She said she was a big fan of country singers and had been inspired and influenced by her parents’ record collection in the 1970s and 1980s.
This year, the winner will take home a grand prize of a performance slot at Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival 2023.
Mrs Urquhart said: “Ever since I first went to the Tartan Heart Festival at Belladrum, I have dreamed about performing there.
“Between watching different artists and enjoying the general vibe of Belladrum, I usually sit around the campsite with friends, having a wee sing song.
“My ultimate singing partner would be Bruce Springsteen – how fabulous for the Highlands if he could be persuaded to perform at Bella 2023!”
“Having lost loved ones too soon, I truly value the Highland Hospice and the work it does.”
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