I wonder if anyone knows the cost of singing? To belong to the Galloway branch of the National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS) in Newton Stewart costs £90 for 33 sessions.
Then add £10 per session on top that for petrol and the price rises to £420 per annum.
If the youngster is in the National Choir that’s £390 per annum and heaven knows how much petrol to go to venues in Perth and Dunblane this year. That totals £710 without petrol and merchandise. Call it £100 a month, with fuel factgored in, but that is not counting having to stay overnight sometimes. Add to this the shirts, ties, shoes and so on. One has to ask if these items are luxuries that many cannot possibly afford. And the answer is yes.
Joan Gibson, the chief executive of NYCoS, says the young Galloway choristers are not getting the full experience because of the falling numbers and that the solution is to merge with Dumfries. Well, if they do that, they won’t get any at all. Why do they hold workshops in Dumfries and further north but not here? Do they give concerts here? No. So if you don’t do the footwork, it doesn’t happen.
How about moving to Castle Douglas? That is in the middle so everyone has to travel, but they won’t do that.
Children in rural areas have very little or no experience of mixing with others from around the country.
Parents do their utmost to get over this by encouraging their children to join in group activities, such as NYCoS. But it takes time and commitment and this is the thanks they get for all the fundraising and travel.
It is a sad fact that children and young people in rural areas are becoming increasingly isolated and this does not bode well for them venturing out into the world.
I write in light of the recent news that the Galloway choir is to be merged with Dumfries. As a parent of a choir member, I find it appalling that being situated in the west of the region again penalises the opportunities available to our children. I offer my full support in any initiatives that will result in the reversal of this poorly thought-out decision.
Parent of choir member, Glenluce.