AN East Renfrewshire choir is preparing to celebrate its 20th birthday.

Sounds International, based at Netherlee Church, sang together for the first time in March 2003.

With a mixture of men and women, the 35-person group is still going strong two decades later.

Barrhead News: Community choir prepares to celebrate 20th birthday

Jeff Fineman, chair of Sounds International, said: “We’re delighted we’ve made it this far, especially given the hurdles that were presented to us during Covid, where we rehearsed and performed over Zoom.

“After all this time, we still make as good a sound as ever.”

The choir was formed by Eddie Binnie on a multi-faith platform, which it retains to this day.

Jeff said: “That was Eddie’s aim – to bring all faiths together through the power of music.

“We just want to sing music that doesn’t offend anyone and to reach out to the surrounding communities through the choir.”

Throughout the year, Sounds International puts on a number of concerts to raise money for local and national charities.

So far, the group has raised £80,000 for causes such as Mary’s Meals and Prostate Cancer UK.

Toiletries and other items are also donated by those attending the concerts and these are then passed on to local charity East Renfrewshire Good Causes.

To celebrate the choir’s 20th birthday, members are planning to “let their hair down.”

Jeff, 61, said: “We are definitely going to be celebrating. In the past, we have had a social event and we’re hoping we can get them back up and running again to celebrate 20 years.

“Just a bit of fun, food and party pieces, it’ll be great.”

The choir, which rehearses every Tuesday, between 7.30pm and 9pm, is led by young members of The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, who decide the group’s music per session and lead them in song.

Jeff said: “It’s a match made in heaven – for us and them.”