Press Releases 2007
Editorial, Gargunnock News, Winter 2007/8
Helen to Step Back
Helen Cumming has made it known that she intends to retire as Conductor of the Songsters and the School Choir after the Spring Concert due to increasing demands on her time by her developing career.
She has made a bit of a name for herself and the Songsters since she founded them back in '99 as a choir devoted not only to excellence of performance but also to the enjoyment of experience in the company of friends. She has brought them along to a position of great popularity within the local circuit of Church Halls, Community Centres and other venues including, on one occasion, the Glasgow Concert Hall with the School Choir.
Every so often in a village such as this individuals arise with great talents which they freely use for the benefit of the community. Helen is just such an individual and Gargunnock is very much the better for having had her here.
So I'm confident that on your behalf I can say "Thank you, Helen and Best Wishes for the future".
Practices have begun again for Gargunnock Songsters. We meet on Wednesday evenings at 7.30pm in Gargunnock Community Centre Drop In Centre. The group sings a wide range of light music and is already booked to perform this year in such far-flung places as Larbert and Milngavie. The group will also be singing in the evening Village Carol Concert at the Community Centre on Sunday 16th December. With Marion Wyllie set to perform, early booking of tickets is strongly recommended.
Members of Songsters come mainly from Gargunnock and surrounding villages and represent all generations. We are alwasys keen to recruit new members - particularly men. There are no frightening auditions. Enthusiasm and love of music is more important than ability to read music since extra help is on hand for those that need it. If you enjoy singing and might be interested in joining a singing group please contact Songsters' Leader Helen Cumming on .........
Songsters' Spring Concert "A Singular Sensation"
I'm always placed in a state of some trepidation when I'm asked to do a publicity photo for the Songsters latest concert. Give me a good landscape to photograph any day. You know, trees and fields and stuff like that which stays in the one place and doesn't argue. But on this occasion when Janette Wilson, the songsters MC, told me she had composed a series of links between songs based on stories from the Gargunnock News I was tickled pink, not to say a little curious, so off I trotted up to Helen Cumming's front room to fire off a few shots with fingers crossed that one of them would be useable.
Then it was back down the road to fire up the old PC and offer up a silent prayer to that great Deity, Adobe Photoshop CS, that it would look kindly on its humble servants efforts.
And so it came to pass as shown above, although at the end of the day perhaps as much down to that equally great Goddess, my wife Helen who inspected my final efforts in silence then said, "No, slide that over there a bit and that further under there and it'll look better." She ws right too.
...And the actual concert?.... Oh yes, the concert! Well that could fairly be described in Janette's words and also the title of one of the songs "A Singular Sensation".
I've said before that if people are happy in what they're doing it comes over in what they do. I know from personal experience that the Songsters are a happy, sometimes extrovert bunch and that showed in their performance at their Spring Concert in the Community Cetnre.
Traditionally the spring conert aims to raise funds for them to cover running costs for the coming year. This year the raffle proceeds went to ex-member (if you ever can be) Marion Wyllie to help her in her studies down at the Guildhall School of Music in London and to that end a healthy total of nearly £200 was collected for her.
The programme followed the usual format with the whole choir singing songs from the shows, by Bernstein and Sondheim, Hammerstein and Kern,
Lerner and Loewe, Rodgers and Hammerstein etc. In between, smaller groups such as Lindsay and Anne, The Gargoyles, the Two Men, the Ladies, Bruce and Jessie Wyllie, Bridget etc gave us songs ranging from "Hush-a-by Birdie" to "A Policeman's Lot" The audience too, had the chance to exercise their vocal chords with that old favourite, "The Song of the Clyde".
The interval brought refreshments in the Blue Room which was soon packed and noisy with conversation as neighbours and friends made and renewed contacts. The raffle came next with many prizes to be won and the kids did a grand job of distributing them to the winners.
The second half was more of the same except that Bridget gave us a verbal update on how things are going down at Culbeg in "More Tales from the Bothy", which convinced me at least never to entertain any ideas about learning to ride at my age judging by the tribulations she has had to endure while her children took to it like ducks to water!
All the while Johan played her socks off at the keyboard and if the lack of a page-turner for one particular piece which required jumping back and forth rapidly from one page to another resulted in her grinding to a halt, well, we all had a laugh and so did she.
And Janette, choir member and narrator for the night, whose idea it was to devise introductions to each song using the Gargunnock News as a link? Well she was just magnificent and I'm not sayig that just because I'm biased as she had obviously put in a lot of hard (and inspred) work to be able to maintain the theme all the way through and had decorated the window sills in the hall with back numbers of the magazine too. Nice touch.
So the evening drew to a close and Helen Cumming made her obviously heart felt end-of-season speech to thank all concerned, not forgetting the back-room people who dealt with refreshments and the raffle etc.
Helen, of course is the founder, conductor and general inspiration for the Songsters, having performed that roll ably for many years now. Another successful Songster season is now over and the summer break beckons. For her work she deserves all due credit, for the Songsters have become part of what she is and also what Gargunnock is as a community. Long may they (and she) continue to provide us with "Singular Sensations" such as this.