Last-gasp bid to save Kilmarnock choir as choral group chief pleads for members

A choir secretary has launched an appeal to save her beloved Ayrshire choral.

Ellen MacLeod admits she fears for the future of Kilmarnock and District Choral Union, which was formed in 1948, as they are down to just 16 members due to being unable to perform a concert since Covid closed the country down.

Now she says it’s the last chance to get members back in — with an afternoon rehearsal under consideration if it proved popular.

The choir currently rehearses on Monday nights at Grange Academy and Ellen, who is both the choral’s secretary and treasurer, says anyone who fancies it is more than welcome to come along.

She told the Kilmarnock Standard: “There is no income coming in at all because we are not holding concerts.

“We are down to 16 members so it’s tough, they are all very faithful, but we are not able to do much.

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“We haven’t been allowed to have any concerts since 2019, and it’s only now that we are able to start thinking about it again.

“It’s reasonable to go ahead with concerts again, but we just don’t have the numbers for it anymore.

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“The musical director is willing to change to afternoon meetings, because it’s an elderly choir and most elderly people don’t like coming out at night since lockdown for various reasons.

“But if we do manage to sort an afternoon session it means we won’t get any younger people in as they’ll be working, it’s a catch-22.

“I don’t know where we are going, this is the last gasp really.

“I have done all I can, and I don’t want to give it up, so we have to do everything we can to get more members in and get choirs back on.”

Ellen added: “As well as singing in the Grand Hall and various churches in Kilmarnock and around Ayrshire, we have sung with Glasgow Cathedral Choir and the Scottish National Orchestra Chorus and made recordings with the Scottish National Orchestra.

“We have had soloists who have gone on to make glittering careers in both oratorio and opera and we hope that by continuing to engage students and singers at the start of their musical lives we can encourage and support classical singers of the future.

“The Choral Union has tried to appeal to lovers of purely classical repertoire as well as reaching out to audiences who just enjoy the thrill of listening to a full choir and orchestra or the more intimate setting of carols with an organ accompaniment in a church.

“We hope that we can continue to be part of the musical life of Kilmarnock and play our part in entertaining and educating both audiences and choir members.”

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Anyone interested in joining the choir should email [email protected] or call (01563) 543180 / 07792 570797.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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