Australian actor Hugh Jackman won many fans during his recent visit to Scotland.
And chief among their number was Stefanie Chalmers from Carluke.
For not only did Stefanie get the chance to meet the down-to-earth star, she also shared a stage with him!
By day, Stefanie is a music teacher at Clyde Valley High School in Wishaw.
But for the last nine years, she has also been a member of the SoundSational Community Choir.
And she was one of 50 choir members who were selected to team up with the Greatest Showman when he and his orchestra performed three sold-out shows at the SSE Hydro in Glasgow.
Stefanie said: “It was an amazing experience and I was so grateful to be given the opportunity.
“Hugh and his team were so welcoming to us all and really made us feel like part of the show.
“I’ve been in the choir for nine years.
“It helps me to destress after a hard day’s work and has also widened my social circle.”
Now Stefanie and the choir can include the A-list celeb in that circle!
The Lanarkshire choir joined Hugh on stage for renditions of the musical theatre anthems You Will Be Found, One Day More and A Million Dreams.
And it was actually the star himself who asked the choir to take part.
SoundSational members were filmed singing This Is Me, from The Greatest Showman, at Glasgow’s Central Station for BBC Music Day and to celebrate International Women’s Day.
Tommy Chambers from Motherwell, who founded the choir ten years ago and is now its musical director, takes up the story.
“Hugh Jackman’s team had asked for community choirs to hashtag songs from The Greatest Showman,” he said. “So we shared our video from Central Station.
“When I next went on Instagram, our video was number four internationally.
“Three weeks before the shows, I got an email from America at 2.30am, asking if we’d like to be involved in the opening of the world tour. I jumped at the chance!
“Music then started coming through from America. We had two weeks of rehearsals to prepare for the Hydro, making everything as tight and slick as possible, then a full day of rehearsal in the venue before the show started.
“When he was speaking to choir members before the show, Hugh said he’d seen our video and chosen it.”
It was an incredible experience for all involved and a great platform for the community choir.
Tommy said: “It was an absolute pleasure and privilege; the show was a massive, spectacular production.
“We felt honoured to be representing Scotland with one of the biggest stars in the world.
“Everyone was in awe of the venue. It’s a big arena so we’d prepared for the roar of the crowd – 13,000 people screaming is quite a sound!
“The choir were really excited and nervous but the whole production team put them at their ease.
“Everyone looked and sounded incredible and I made sure everyone in the choir knew just how proud I was of them for performing on a stage that size the way that they did.”
As for Hugh Jackman, Tommy has nothing but praise for the star who is regarded as one of the nicest in showbusiness.
He said: “Hugh was so nice to everyone – he was very inspirational and motivational and made everyone feel comfortable.
“Every time he was standing next to someone in the choir during rehearsals he had a chat with them.
“The choir isn’t full of people in the entertainment business.
“We have folk from all walks of life – gardeners, retired tradesmen, nurses, hairdressers and people who are unemployed.
“They all loved how genuine Hugh Jackman was.”
SoundSational Community Choir members rehearse weekly at St Andrew’s High School in Coatbridge. It now has around 140 members, 50 of whom took part in the Hugh Jackman world tour.
Tommy added: “We’re back to real life now but everyone is still as high as kites. Reviews for the shows have been incredible and there’s been real kudos internationally.
“It’s great for Scotland and for Lanarkshire to have taken part; the choir worked so hard and delivered to a really high standard.
“We’re so privileged to have been involved.
“Hugh Jackman gave us that gift and we would like to thank him for that.”
The choir, which is run as a social enterprise, also regularly works with school children and NHS patients.
Visit www.soundsationalmusic.co.uk to find out more.