The Fair City SIngers was formed in September 1989 as an independent choir for 11-17 year olds from Perth schools. It was created by music teacher Marion Neilson, who continued in the role of Musical Director until 2011 when she was succeeded by the current Musical DIrector, Marjory Watson.
From the beginning, Marion was supposorted by her husband Martin as accompanist and in 1997 their selfless work with the Fair City Singers was recognised when they were awarded the D K Thompson Award for outstanding service to the city of Perth.
Over the years the Singers have toured the UK and abroad, performing Scottish and international songs in such diverse locations as Scandanavia, Prague, Budapest, France, Holland, the USA and Canada, allowing the young people to experience other lands and cultures.
In 1991 the Fair City Junior Singers was formed as a training choir and, as some of the Dads also wanted to sing, Martin launched the Perth Barbershop Singers in 1997, which is still going strong.
Marion began singing at the age of nine with the Ayr Junior Gaelic Choir and, during her teenage years, she won many prestigious awards at music festivals and competitions. At the age of 17 she won a scholarship to study singing at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music (now called the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland). She gained teaching and singing diplomas and went on to combine classroom teaching with concert performances until her family and the Fair City Singers changed the direction of her life.
Since 1989 she has devoted herself to fostering a love of vocal music in children and her ability as a choral director was recognised in 1994 when she became runner-up in the prestigious BFYC Conductor of Youth Choirs which was held in Leicester Cathedral.
Martin was born in Lanarkshire and played the piano from the age of three and church organ from age 14. He graduated MA in Music and Languages from Glasgow University and during his student years was greatly influenced by Peter Mooney, the conductor of the Glasgow Phoenix Choir.
From 1969 to 1975 Martin was accompanist to this choir, touring throughout Britain, USA and Germany. In 1975, after moving to Perth, he held the baton as Musical Director of Perth Operatic Society for 10 years. As well as his professional post as principal teacher of music at Perth Academy, he was much in demand as an accompanist at concerts, ceilidhs and cabarets. His additional skills as an arranger of music for the Fair City Singers can be heard on their 1999 CD including such classics as ‘My Heart Will Go On’ from the film 'Titanic'.