There is something truly magical about singing in a group. From teeny wee toddlers, belting out nursery rhymes with their play group pals, to big ol’ gospel choirs raising the roof to heaven, that feeling of togetherness in song is one of life’s simplest and most joyous of pleasures - even for me, a singer so bad that Pauline only lets me sing if my mic is turned off!
Organisers of the amazing Perthshire-based Solas Festival, which celebrates 10 years this year, have embraced this idea wholeheartedly and are inviting choirs and singers from up and down the land – yes, including yours! - to join them in singing at this year’s event.
Aiming to create a ‘super choir’ led by legendary harpist, composer and teacher Corinna Hewat, they plan to fill the fields and hedgerows of Errol – their new location for this celebration of a decade! – with the glorious voices of Solas revellers.
There is something truly magical about singing in a group.
Debs Hahn, the Festival Co-ordinator commented:
“The choirs will be performing with Corinna, who is also a workshop leader. All choirs and groups of singers who are chosen to perform will be rehearsed on the day itself so you don't need to prepare anything in advance.
We want as many people as possible to join us, so it doesn't need to be a full choir, or even an official choir that claims these spaces - groups of pals who like singing are very welcome. All we ask is that there are at least ten people in each group."
We caught up with Perth’s first lady of choir singing, Debra Salem, to find out what she had to say. Debra leads the Craigie Choir, who sang at SOLAS festival back in 2014, and she was MD for Scottish Police and Community Choir for 4.5 years until Dec 2018.
Many communities, workplaces, health groups and school groups have been brought together through the fun and joy of singing.
She has worked with Tayside Healthcare Art Trust offering singing for those people with long term health conditions, and she delivers Southern Fried Voices, Horsecross Voices and vocal workshops around Scotland. She also once led a Clown choir (which is why we love her!).
“No matter what the style of music or type of choir – whether you sing a capella or along to music, whether the choir performs big shows or just for its own enjoyment - being part of a choir gives you such a buzz.
This is because the sound a choir makes is based on the contribution of every single person in that group; and when you are part of that cumulative sound – unison or harmony - it brings a huge sense of fulfilment and satisfaction.
Many communities, workplaces, health groups and school groups have been brought together through the fun and joy of singing. You meet people that you wouldn’t normally get the chance to connect with, who then become your choir family.
Choir can really cheer you up after a bad day. In fact, when it’s one of those times that you think you’re just too tired to go, that’s the exact time when you should! I promise you’ll come out feeling better than you did when you when you went it.
It’s not always easy; in fact being in a choir can be really hard work. But it is so worth it. When you’re in rehearsal, you can just stop for a second, close your eyes and listen to that amazing sound that you’re part of. That’s when you realise, that it’s not about what you can do on your own, but what you can do together.”
In order to make their Super Choir happen, Solas Festival is offering a whopping 60% discount to anyone singing up as part of a choirs or group of 10 singers. That makes weekend tickets just £50 and day tickets just £20. Getting involved is as easy as 1,2,3.
1) If you sing in a choir or have a group of singers in mind - propose a summer trip to Solas at your next rehearsal
2) Gather a list of names
3) Send to email@example.com to arrange your tickets.
Here in Perthshire there are a number of local, independent retailers who can help you become more green in your day to day choices.
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