A Borders choir for people with a learning disability, formed in September last year, has been invited to perform at a major awards ceremony this month.
The Keys to Life Choir will take to the stage at the Scottish Learning Disability Awards at the Sheraton Hotel in Edinburgh on Friday, May, 17.
The choir is led by Sandy Devers, Chief Executive Officer of Streets Ahead, and Claire Taylor, Team Manager with The Richmond Fellowship Scotland, both of whom are musicians and singers. Claire is the conductor, and she is assisted by Sandy, who plays guitar and bagpipes.
The choir is named after The Keys to Life - Scotland’s strategy for supporting people with learning disabilities to have great lives.
The group covers a wide range of songs, from the Proclaimers and Abba to numbers from the Sound of Music. Everyone has their own favourites, but they also enjoy the challenge of learning something new.
The choir meets twice a month in Galashiels and Hawick. Its members, of all ages from across the Borders, have spent the last few sessions practising for their big night.
“We started the choir for people for people with a learning disability and their carers and families,” explained Sandy. “We love singing together as a group. We make everyone feel welcome and the emphasis is on fun and taking part. We all encourage each other, and friendship is important - the group always has a break for coffee and a chat.
“Although fun is the key, there is much hard work and concentration involved in learning the music and words. It has been great to make new friends and sing together”.
“The choir is delighted to have been asked to perform at the awards ceremony,” added Claire. “They have been working hard on songs for the event and they’re very excited to be part of the occasion. Music is a great way to bring people together and the choir has given people in the Borders with a learning disability a chance to come together, learn songs and have fun.”
Around 25 people from the Borders will attend the event in Edinburgh, with families, carers and support workers joining the choir members.
Prior to the choir’s performance in Edinburgh they will sing at Galashiels Rugby Club on Thursday, May 16 in an event to celebrate Learning Disability Week.