Amid concerns over further potential restrictions due to Covid, Greenock Philharmonic Choir managed to fulfil their promise to present two concerts of Christmas music on Saturday 12th December.
In pretty dire weather conditions, the choir travelled down to Largs for the first round at 4 o’clock in Clark Memorial Church, then, after a quick turnaround, made the journey back to Lyle Kirk in Greenock for the second concert at 7.30pm. Fortunately the weather did not put people off coming along to hear the music and both events were very well attended.
This was the Philharmonic’s first concert since December 2019 and, of course, the Coronavirus restrictions from March 2020 made a big impact on all singing activities. However, the choir members were undeterred and, like many others, made use of Zoom, then met outdoors before finally being able to get back together for rehearsals, with masks firmly in place.
The items performed included favourites such as “O Holy Night” and “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas”, which in current circumstances proved quite emotional for some people in the choir and the audience.
The choir was supported by a line-up of highly accomplished musicians which included conductor Andrew McTaggart, who sings with Scottish Opera, Andrew Forbes, organist at Glasgow Cathedral, soprano Caitlin MacKenzie, and bass Sean Nelis. Caitlin is a former member of the Phil, and Sean is currently a choir member. Both are presently studying music at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
Musical Director Andrew Mctaggart said “It’s really great for the choir to be back together again. Choirs like this are built on the community. Everyone in the choir has worked very hard, and we have been enjoying rehearsals, singing again, laughing, smiling, and making music. The concerts were full of enjoyable upbeat Christmassy music, and it was lovely to have former choir member Caitlin Mackenzie back with us."
President Calum Harbison commented that the last couple of years had been very challenging for amateur music groups, but members were back with renewed enthusiasm, and with some new singers, and had enjoyed singing in front of an audience again. He hoped that people would still be able to celebrate Christmas a bit more fully (but safely) this year, and this was an ideal way to get into the spirit.
If all goes according to plan, the choir’s Spring Concert will be on Saturday 26th March 2022. Details will be on posted on this website and there’s always information on Facebook - search for Greenock Philharmonic Choir.
The choir plans to restart on Monday 10th January, rehearsing at Lyle Kirk, Union Street at 7.15pm. New members will be made very welcome.