Rock Choir lend their voices to help X-Factor winner Sam

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In the past 10 years a not-so-quiet singing revolution has swept the country, attracting keen amateur performers who want to sing for the pure joy of it.

Rock Choir – set up in Surrey in 2005 by musician and singer, Caroline Redman Lusher, to encourage people to have fun singing pop chart songs – has exploded in popularity in East Dunbartonshire with many lifelong friendships being formed at regular meetings.

There are two groups which meet weekly in school term time; in Milngavie on a Thursday morning at The Nuffield Health Fitness and Wellbeing Gym and on Tuesday evenings at The Park Centre, Kirkintilloch.

Jennifer Sim, the choir leader in Milngavie, said: “We started with only a few members in 2011 but now have around 60 – there is now a waiting list.

“Most of our singers tend to be women but we are keen to attract as many men as possible because they are under represented in our group, although I believe the Rock Choir in Glasgow has more men.”

“Anyone can sing,” continued Jennifer, a graduate of The Royal Scottish Conservatoire and a trained psychologist.

“But we never ask anyone to sing on their own.

“It is all a matter of helping to building people’s confidence and make them feel part of a group.”

The choirs in Milngavie and Kirkintilloch also get together with other groups throughout Scotland to sing and raise money for charity.

Among the venues visited are The Kelvinhall Bandstand and Buchanan Galleries in Glasgow, as well as a flash mob event at Murrayfield.

Many of the songs they perform are classics, such as Billy Joel’s Uptown Girl, The Beatles’ With a Little Help from My Friends and Beyonce’s Halo.

Jennifer said: “It is all about having fun and making new friends. We do talk about singing techniques but it is about singing as a group and everyone finding their own voice. “

People fall into one of three singing groups, which have an upper and a lower level – alto, base or soprano.

Jennifer explained: “People who may be slightly out of tune will be carried along by the rest of the choir and the more you practice the stronger your voice becomes.”

Among the many members Milngavie Rock Choir has welcomed into its group since it was formed in 2011 are mother and daughter Sandra and Kirsteen Button.

The pair joined last year after Kirsteen showed an interest. Sandra had a background as a classically trained amateur singer so felt it would be a fun thing for them to do together.

Sandra (78) said: “I have been in choirs since I was a child and have always enjoyed singing.

“However, I sung classical so pop music was quite a departure for me but I now love it and really look forward to our Thursday morning sessions.”

Sandra said the singing sessions were so good, thanks to Jennifer’s infectious enthusiasm.

“Jennifer is a bubbly and friendly personality that injects you with vitality,” she said. “She is a multi-talented person who knows how to get the best out of people.”

Members of Milngavie Rock Choir, meanwhile, are joining forces with 2013 X Factor winner, Sam Bailey, as special guests on her forthcoming tour.

The gold selling artist will also be joined on stage by members of rock choirs from Bothwell, Glasgow, Kilmacolm and Largs, on Thursday, April 6, at the Royal Concert Hall, Glasgow.

Sam said: “I’m so happy to be performing with a choir on my tour.

“I love the depth a choir can add to live vocals and I want to put on an amazing show for my fans. I’m so excited for everyone to see what we have planned.”

Jennifer will lead the choir on stage.

She said: “Sam’s mum is a member of Rock Choir – we feel honoured to be supporting her.

“We have sung at the Royal Concert Hall twice before. The acoustics are really good and, although the venue holds 2000 people, it is quite intimate.”

The Rock Choir will be performing a number of songs with Sam including Labi Siffre classic, Something Inside so Strong and Sam’s most recent single, Sing My Heart Out.

The tour follows the release of her eagerly awaited studio album of the same name. For tickets call the box office on 0141 353 8000 or visit sam-bailey.com.

For a Rock Choir taster session visit www.rockchoir.com or call 01252 714276.