An Ayrshire singing group who refused to let Covid shut them down have been nominated for a UK award.
Ayr Choral Union has been praised for bringing its members together throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
The group, which has remained at full voice despite being locked out, are now in the running for a UK Creative Lives Award.
The awards highlight 31 inspiring groups who have shown resilience and creativity throughout the pandemic.
And the Choral Union appointment comes after they regroup from their living rooms, conjuring up magical performances at Zoom meetings.
For many members, including those in the Vulnerable Armor category, a Tuesday night became the highlight of their week.
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And after more than a year of singing at home, the choir was finally able to have a moving reunion on a hot summer night in a school parking lot in August of last year.
Kate Wilson, President of the Ayr Choral Union, said Ayrshire Live: “There are a whole bunch of different bands that have been nominated this year.
“We are one of the two choirs; we were absolutely delighted to be nominated for this.
“In March 2020, the choir stopped. We were supposed to do a big concert at Ayr Town Hall and it got canceled and we were locked out.
“Andrew McTaggart, our Music Director, called me up and said he could organize something where we could sing together on Zoom.
“For some of us, we’ve never even heard of Zoom, but luckily he has the talent, creativity and technical skills to organize this.
“Our secretary sent the information to the whole choir and we just started doing regular virtual choirs.
“All the music was prepared by Andrew on YouTube so that we could listen to it and sing along.
“It quickly became the highlight of the week for many members. We have members ranging in age from 16 to 80 and it was just amazing that so many people got involved in the Zoom calls.
“We were opening the meeting early so people could just catch up and talk. Looking back you can see what a difference it made for everyone. It wasn’t just the physical benefits of continuing to sing, it drastically improved everyone’s mood and sanity.
“We had guest singers from other choirs joining us, unfortunately a lot of other choirs stopped and didn’t do anything during the lockdown so we welcomed them into ours. “
As well as keeping the choir going, Ayr Choral Union also used their voices as a force for good by putting on a great performance online and inventing it for musicians from all over Scotland who had been hammered by the restrictions. on coronaviruses.
An online fundraiser coinciding with their Messiah concert in October 2020 managed to raise £ 2,400 for Help Musicians Scotland.
In 2021, the choir set a goal of finally having the chance to sing together again in person and in the summer they finally made their wish come true.
Kate, who has been with the choir for 30 years, said: “In August we had two outdoor rehearsals at Wellington School which kindly opened their parking lot for us.
“It was a very emotional opportunity for all of us to get back together. We had two amazing nights. The weather was also fantastic.
“We started rehearsing at Castlehill Church again and life started to return to a sort of normalcy for the choir.”
The Union Chorale closed 2021 with a special festive performance at the town hall of Ayr in front of 250 guests.
Kate added: “Our Christmas concert was a wonderful experience to redo. The audience loved it, it was so good to hear live music again.
Creative Lives award winners will be announced in March this year, voting is open for the People’s Choice Award for which Ayr Choral Union is shortlisted.
Voting will end on January 31. You can vote here.
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