Falkirk choir sings praises of Creative Scotland after windfall helps pay for new website
A Falkirk choir is singing the praises of a public body after it received enough funding to launch a new website.
Freedom Of Mind Community Choir was handed a £22,549 windfall by Creative Scotland that enabled the group to set up a platform where full and associate members can access weekly digital singing and social sessions.
The freedomofmindcommunitychoir.com site will feature teaching videos, practice recordings, lyrics and sheet music.
The funds also helped Freedom of Mind to purchase a new samba drumming set.
Members first moved their sessions online when the pandemic hit last March and ran pre-recorded events led by its music directors, Mariot Dallas and Kim Edgar.
Now that restrictions are easing, the choir, which began as a non-audition community group in March 2019, is also meeting outdoors once a month at Tamfourhill Community Hub.
Full members can attend in-person sessions, if they wish to do so.
Membership continues to operate on a “pay what you can afford” basis, with a minimum contribution of £8 per calendar month.
Being a part of the choir has helped many participants combat feelings of isolation and loneliness, according to its leaders.
Organisers say the songs sung contain positive messages to uplift those who attend, while the “welcoming, inclusive” nature of the group provides a “sense of belonging”.
Since the pandemic, online provision, including pre-recorded YouTube singing sessions, has been delivered free of charge to choir members and members of the public, with an average of 115 views per session and positive feedback from people as far afield as New York, Germany and Taiwan.
Mariot said: “Taking part in the choir provides real social and emotional benefits.
“That’s why we’re so grateful for the support we’ve received from Creative Scotland, which will enable us to continue to thrive and grow, despite this challenging time for choirs.”
Kim added: “The money covers lots of things like making free music videos with professional film makers and the delivery of online and in-person provision for a year.
“It’s very exciting to be able to offer exclusive access to online learning resources for 12 inspiring songs each term – and in person.
“Creative Scotland’s support means that even if we can’t sing indoors for extended periods in the near future, we can continue to build our musical skills through drumming!”