Pioneer choir hosts first singing course

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CUMBERNAULD Choir was delighted to be asked to host the first Learn To Sing course in Scotland.

We were a little apprehensive, worrying if enough people would enrol for the course. We needn’t have worried as nearly 120 people registered, although not all took advantage of the course.

We had a steady attendance of around 90 smiling, eager faces each week.

The atmosphere was great and all were so keen to learn the songs, jump up and down, make strange faces and generally do whatever the choral director, David Sangster, indicated!

He was such an enthusiastic leader and had the choir eating out of his hand or should I say, singing their hearts out!

He eased everyone through the songs with only a pitch pipe and his fine voice as accompaniment! David Sangster is Choral Director of Forth Valley Chorus, Ladies’ Barbershop Choir in Edinburgh.

Four pieces studied, all composed by Nikomo Andrasullah, were: Agnus Dei, Good Where We’ve Been, Tyebye Piom, Whatcha Gonna Do? Some of the pieces were quite challenging for the new choir but under David’s leadership, the choir succeeded.

David followed clear lesson plans each week, provided by the British Association of Barbershop Singers and it was amazing how quickly his group of singers were evolving into a choir.

Warm-up exercises were hilarious but very carefully thought out to get the voices ready. The endorphines were certainly flowing and the feel-good factor was clearly seen and heard. Some of the new singers had singing experience and were using this course as a stepping stone to joining a choir (hopefully Cumbernauld Choir).

Many people have said that they just wanted to say for once in their life that they had sung as part of a choir. Some were terrified and didn’t think they could do it, never having sung before and especially not in parts. Even to identify their own singing voice was quite an achievement.

By the end of the first night, it was wonderful to see the faces of these people singing in a simple four part harmony. Some really good voices were emerging.

In week four, Cumbernauld Choir sang a few pieces for the LTS Choir, to let them hear an established choir. One lady commented that we (Cumbernauld Choir) were not smiling enough and looked too serious. A lesson for us to learn.

The only concern most people had was that as the course was coming to an end, they wanted to know when the next would take place.

I know that the idea behind it was to get people to sing, feel good and join a choir, but this format is so inspiring and non-threatening. It was such a good way to form a choir and many people have so easily become members of their choir.

The end of the course was celebrated by having a short concert on the final night to which family and friends were invited. The sense of achievement on everyone’s face was very uplifting.

Well done to all the choristers and a big thank you to David Sangster musical director, Linda Young from Making Music Scotland, and the British Association of Barbershop Singers. Can’t wait for the next course.

Winnie MacMillan LTS Co-ordinator Cumbernauld Choir.