Falkirk singers mix with the stars this winter

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Falkirk performers have been mingling with the stars this Christmas, with singers taking to the stage alongside ‘X Factor’ contestants and Scottish legends.

Former St Mungo’s pupil Hayley Johnston was one of the support acts for ‘X Factor’ runner up Nicholas McDonald’s gig at the Garage in Glasgow on Sunday night - and last week the teenager opened for Sam Callahan at a club in Livingston and at Storm nightclub in Falkirk.

Meanwhile Chris Judge and wife Nadine McKenzie have been on stage at the Hydro in Glasgow singing with Deacon Blue as part of the Soul Nation choir, which Chris started earlier this year.

Chris, who is also Hayley’s vocal coach, said: “It’s all a bit crazy!

“I was asked to put a choir together for a gig and it went really well so I decided to try and do something with it.

“We put together a promo video of us singing ‘Angels’ which I then sent out to all my contacts, one of whom was Ricky Ross who I had done backing vocals for in the past. He came back and said he really liked it and asked if we wanted to do a few songs with the band at their gig at the Hydro. It was one of those moments where you think, is this really happening?

“I’m more used to being in the background these days, as a vocal coach.

“I did the arrangements of the songs for the choir but we didn’t get together with the band until the sound check so I was just really pleased that they liked what I’d done with their music.

“It was an amazing experience performing in front of 12,000 people. Nadine hung up her dancing shoes for one night and joined the choir - it was fantastic.”

The choir also performed at a Scotland rugby game and has been booked to sing for the next Scotland v England match.

Chris added: “Ideally we would like to do an album but we will just wait and see what happens.

“I’m just really enjoying the journey - it’s great being part of a team and enjoying performing without the pressure.”

For Hayley, the end of 2013 was a hectic one. She’s been performing with the Soul Nation choir, although not at the Deacon Blue gig, and she teamed up with Sam Callahan - who she first met at this time last year.

Hayley (18), who is currently studying musical theatre in London, said: “I was doing a gig at the O2 in Glasgow supporting a boyband called Supernova last December and Sam was also performing then.

“We did a few gigs together earlier this year and became friends. When he went on ‘X Factor’ we kept in touch and then I was able to support him at his two gigs.

“It was really good, and nice to be reunited with him because we got on so well. He was exactly the same as before he went on ‘X Factor’.”

This week’s gig at the Garage was a huge one for Hayley.

She added: “It was supposed to be at Campus in Glasgow but it was too small so they had to move it. They had to take away part of the stage to make room for all the people. I think because Nicholas is Scottish lots of people wanted to show their support for him.

“I got an amazing reaction from the crowd. I came off stage and said to Nicholas - if they’re screaming like that for me, they’re going to be unbelievable when you go on stage!”