New choirs find their voice

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AFTER the sudden demise of the Galloway branch of the National Youth Choir of Scotland, local choristers will continue their musical education next month thanks to Dumfries and Galloway Council.

Under new arrangements, two choirs will be formed, a Galloway Machars choir based in Penninghame Primary School, Newton Stewart and a Galloway Rhins choir based in Stranraer Academy.

Choir practice will commence on Thursday, September 6, in Penninghame school from 4-5pm for P4-7 and from 4.30-5.30pm for secondary pupils, and in Stranraer Academy Music Department on Thursdays from 4-5pm.

Cat Adams, from Clugston Farm, Kirkcowan, was delighted her daughter Libby would be able to keep singing with her friends.

She said: “The parents at the meeting I spoke to were all really happy with this compromise, and very happy that Sue St Joseph would be staying with the Newton Stewart choir.

“I think it’s really good and actually opens up the choir to those previously not selected or who were unable to participate in P4 but who can now. It is great that it is free as it makes it more accessible to people.

“Libby is really looking forward to starting again.

“My only concern is that if NYCoS Galloway Area Choir is reformed, like most things, it will move to Stranraer, as was implied at the meeting. I always felt having it in Newton Stewart kept it central for those in the east of Galloway.

“I go to Stranraer five days a week for the kids’ activities, but am looked down on if I say I don’t want to come through for an extra event or give a day a miss.

“Yet I know a few parents who stopped their kids auditioning for NYCoS as they were not prepared to travel one day a week to Newton Stewart.

“I hope this will work well and look forward to supporting the new Galloway Machars choir as much as I can. I would also like to thank MSPs Alex Fergusson and Aileen McLeod and Russell Brown, MP, who supported us in this fight, and the council which has set up this alternative option to keep our kids singing.”