Assistant Conductor Scholarship

Following the completion of Connor’s year with us, Ayr Choral will be giving the opportunity for a new young conductor to come and work with the choir and Andrew.

The post was advertised through the RCS and after a detailed interview procedure, part of which involved the applicants taking part of our Tuesday rehearsal, we are happy to appoint Matthew McKinney as our Assistant Conductor for the season 2019-20.

Matthew is a final year student in undergraduate performance at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland. As a tenor he has been a professional chorus member and soloist. He has also worked as a conductor, teacher and coach, and is keen to broaden his experience. As a member of the Genesis 16 Scheme and Dunedin Consort “Bridging the Gap” he has had the opportunity to work with professional singers and conductors at the highest level.

Taster Day Saturday 25th August 2018

Ayr Community Church, 55 John Street, Ayr, KA8 0BS        1pm-4pm

As we launch our 2018/19 season, come and sing Vaughan Williams’ dramatic  Dona Nobis Pacem with our musical director Andrew McTaggart. Experience the drama and emotion of Vaughan Williams’ setting of the evocative texts by the American poet, Walt Whitman as we commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1.

 

Workshop for Chichester Psalms 7th January 2018

Ayr Choral’s Spring Concert on 25th March 2018 which included Chichester Psalms, was part of Bernstein at 100 which is the worldwide celebration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of the composer, conductor, musician and humanitarian.

Rehearsals began with a Chichester Psalms afternoon workshop on Sunday 7th January 2018 in Ayr Community Church, John Street, led by Andrew McTaggart and Ted Black. We learned about the background to the work, and Ted ensured we knew the correct Hebrew pronunciation of the texts. Continuing to pronounce correctly was a challenge. Our familiarity with the work was a great help when rehearsals began on 9th January.

We plan to arrange further workshops for future works – look out for details of opportunities to attend a taster session, or to join the choir to sing future works.

 

Bag packing for Ayr Choral

Once again Marks and Spencer invited us to bag pack on Wednesday 20th and Thursday 21st December in the High Street store.

Many singers came along for an hour or two (or more!) and bag packed and chatted with customers, who generously put money into our buckets, whether we packed for them or not. Several people told us how much they had enjoyed our concert on December 17th. Others were sorry they had missed it.

We raised £1284 for funds and are grateful to management and staff of M&S who were helpful and supportive, and to all who donated, including singers who were unable to bag pack.

Singing for Ayrshire Cancer Support

Two groups of carol singers from Ayr Choral entertained Christmas shoppers in Morrisons in Troon on Monday 18th December and Marks and Spencer, High Street, Ayr on Thursday 21st December.

Busy folk were happy to listen for a while as we sang familiar songs and carols, while collecting funds to support Ayrshire Cancer Support, the local group which provides transport for cancer patients to hospital appointments, and counselling and support services for patients and their families in Kilmarnock and Ayr. Their aim is to improve the quality of life of those living with cancer and ensure help is readily available throughout Ayrshire for those who need it.

The great sum of £624 was raised, which included the proceeds of a bucket collection from the audience at our Christmas concert on 17th December in Ayr Town Hall.

A huge thank you to all those who contributed in any way, and to management and staff in Morrisons and M&S who were so helpful and supportive. Several later said how much they had enjoyed having real live singers in the store, and how good we sounded!

St Giles at 6 – May 2017

St Giles at 6 on Sunday 21st May 2017

A large and enthusiastic audience heard A Choral Tapestry with works from Mozart to MacMillan, performed by around 40 members of the choir in St Giles Cathedral, Edinburgh. The beautiful sanctuary echoed with excerpts from Vivaldi’s Gloria and Brahms’ German Requiem, followed by O Radiant Dawn and Quas ego by MacMillan; three pieces on the Virgin included works by Mozart, Bardos and Dubra, and the concert concluded with Rachmaninov’s Bogoroditse, Roberton’s Iona Boat Song, and Rutter’s Gaelic Blessing. As an encore, the choir sang Ye Banks and Braes o Bonnie Doon, by Burns. Audience members were generous in their praise of the choice of programme and performance. Two choral members were stopped by a couple from South Carolina, USA who had really enjoyed the concert, and hoped to hear us sing again!

Bag packing

On Wednesday 21st and Friday 23rd December, several members of Ayr Choral spent between 2 and 6 hours bag packing in M@S, High Street, Ayr. This is always a sociable occasion as customers are happy to chat, find out what we do or congratulate us on our concerts.

£1136 was raised for our funds to offset the costs of hiring venues and orchestras. A big thank you to everyone who contributed – members who packed and customers who put money in the buckets, whether we packed or not!

Christmas Concert 2016

Following our fantastic 140th anniversary concert at the end of October, a large, enthusiastic audience joined us for our Christmas concert on Sunday 18th December in Ayr Town Hall at 7.30.p.m.
Everyone enjoyed the selection of familiar and new carols, accompanied by Gordon Cree on organ and piano. The audience joined in with gusto, particularly with their percussion accompaniment to Jingle Bells! ‘My Lord has come’ by Will Todd and extracts from Benjamin Britten’s Ceremony of Carols, accompanied beautifully by Sharron Griffiths on harp, were highlights.

Special guests, Wellington School Chamber Choir, were led by their conductor, Dennis Haggerty, and accompanied on piano by the head teacher, Simon Johnson.
They sang ‘Gloria’ by Mary McDonald and ‘Christmas Lullaby’ by John Rutter, and followed ‘God bless us every one’ from Disney’s Christmas Carol with ‘Sparklejollytwinklejingley’ Their talent, enthusiasm and musicianship was greeted with rousing applause by audience and choral members.

The Council Chambers was packed during the interval with audience and choir members enjoying mince pies and shortbread, along with interval drinks supplied by Kiama Trust, in aid of cancer support in South Ayrshire.

A bucket collection in aid of Royal Voluntary Service’s ‘Good Neighbours in South Ayrshire’ project raised £386. The service to support anyone over the age of 65, aims to reduce isolation and enable older people to lead as fulfilled and rich lives as they choose.

All in all a great evening for singers, musicians and audience, giving everyone a sense of excitement and anticipation of Christmas.

A Celebration Concert

140 Years of Ayr Choral

Ayr Town Hall was packed to capacity on Sunday 30th October  for one of the most memorable concerts in the history of Ayr Choral. Over ninety present and past members of the choir sang a selection of choral favourites, including excerpts from Handel’s Messiah (performed at the first official concert in 1878), Vivaldi’s Gloria and Faure’s Requiem; traditional Scottish songs, including Burns’ favourite, Ye Banks and Braes, and Mozart’s Ave Verum. We were supported by the highly talented Glasgow Festival Orchestra. Soloists Marie Claire Breen (Sop), Cheryl Forbes (Alto) and Andrew McTaggart (Bass) gave sparkling performances of a variety of arias, duets and solos.

A highlight of the evening was the World Premiere of a specially composed piece, gifted to us by our patron Sir James MacMillan, Quas ego non terras. This stunning piece with amazing organ accompaniment by Gordon Cree, was set to a ‘quirky, but strangely moving Latin poem by Scottish writer Arthur Johnston (1579-1641). ..and tells of his wandering through Europe at a tumultuous time in history.’ (MacMillan) A second piece by our patron, O Radiant Dawn, was equally enthusiastically received by the audience.

The concert ended with the audience joining the choir in a boisterous rendering of Auld Lang Syne, including actions. The party mode continued with birthday cakes and sparkling drinks for all. A display of memorabilia and photographs in the hall proved popular with choir and audience, and informal community singing took place with enthusiastic audience members joining in.

The 140th season will continue with the Christmas Concert on Sunday 18 December, 2016 and a performance of The Brahms Requiem on Sunday 2 April 2017. We hope you can join us then.