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Community choir plan pays tribute to past

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By Fiona Reid
Annan and Eskdale
Community choir plan pays tribute to past

A COMMUNITY choir is set to find its voice in the area - and pay tribute to its history by reviving a familiar name.

Carlisle-based singing teacher Sian Carys Allen is planning to launch a mixed-genders choir focused on the Annan and Eastriggs area, and using the name ‘Selgovian Singers’.
Sian said: “We’re looking to re-establish a choir.
“It was a community choir of Eastriggs.”
Sian is friends with Val Johnstone of Eastriggs, whose mother Adeline Johnston was a member of the original choir and whose late husband James coined the name ‘Selgovian Singers’.
During a meeting with Sian this week, Adeline, now 97 and living at Annan Court Care Home, explained the original choir continued to evolve, and is now run as the all-female Anava Singers.
Looking back at their origins in the 1990s, Joyce Wylie, who lives at nearby Selgovae House, said: “I was the founder of the choir with my sister Emma Carruthers who was the musical director. The conductor was Barbara Lewis.
“The choir started as the Newington WRI choir and we sang in the WRI national competitions. I was secretary of Newington WRI at the time.”
Joyce added: “We then changed the name to the Annan Ladies Choir and entered lots of national competitions, the Dumfries Music Festival and also the Carlisle Festival where we won many trophies.
“We again decided to change the name of the choir to something Scottish.”
Adeline’s husband was a local historian.
And she said: “He discovered that the first tribe that settled in the Annan value were the Selgovae.”
The Selgovian Singers eventually disbanded, and another musical director took on some of the original singers before starting a new choir under the name The Anava Singers.
The new community choir under Sian will rehearse on Thursday evenings from 7 pm to 9 pm in the Baxter Hall, Annan Road, Eastriggs with a coffee and tea break.
All ages and levels are welcome to join and Sian has emphasised that there will be no auditions.
And a taster session will take place next Thursday April 14 at 7 pm in the Baxter Hall, when there will be a discussion about how to develop the choir with a little introduction to warming up the voice before singing.

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