A COMMUNITY choir has been launched in Neilston which hopes to connect residents together again and lift spirits through music and song.

Keen singers of all ages and abilities are being urged to sign up for the new group, which is run by Neilston Development Trust (NDT) in association with the Diane Mitchell Music School.

The first session took place on November 10 at NDT’s base The Bank and going forward meet ups will be held every second Wednesday between 7pm and 9pm.

Jennifer Carroll, NDT’s programme coordinator, told the Barrhead News: “I initially put out a post on our social media page during lockdown, asking if anyone in the community would be interested in being part of a Neilston Community Choir.

“I was amazed at the huge response. It was clearly something lots of community members were keen to be involved with.

“The aim of the choir is that anyone can attend, regardless of singing ability, age or background, with the focus on fun and improving health and mental wellbeing.”

Music school director Diane runs classes in Paisley and Barrhead, where she currently provides one to one lessons in piano, violin, guitar and brass from the town’s St Andrew’s Parish Church.

Locally, she is also offering an additional support needs (ASN) class, Musical Adventurers, at The Bank, which is a combination of singing, playing instruments and sensory activities.

It is hoped that funding will allow this to soon be offered for free or at a reduced rate for Neilston residents.

The new choir is her latest venture in the area and will replicate the inclusivity of The Renfrewshire Community Gospel Choir, which Diane helped to start up in Paisley in 2016.

“During the pandemic, the Renfrewshire choir stopped and numbers dropped, so afterwards we had a meeting to see what we were going to do,” she explained.

“I had been in contact with NDT and they really wanted a choir, so with the music school being involved in Barrhead and now having a base at St Andrew’s, I thought that would be great.

“I put it to the choir in Paisley and because there were only a handful of us left, they were keen for us to go down that route. There are 10 who will be coming from Paisley and we will a do a variety of repertoire materials.

“I think with the pandemic, people are still really quite low, so I’m hoping it will be a good way of getting people singing again, enjoying it and boosting their confidence. Hopefully we can perform at local venues eventually.”

The cost is £5 per session with block booking available. To register, email jennifer.carroll@neilstontrust.co.uk.