Saturday 18 May 2024
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Paid for contentBig year ahead for Shetland Community Choir

Shetland Community Choir at the Tall Ships 2023

SINCE its inception in December 1942, when the very first performance was Handel’s Messiah by conductor Melville Cooke, Shetland’s community choir has come a long way.

Following a 15 year gap it started up again in 1964 as the Shetland Choral Society. its latest incarnation is the Shetland Community Choir, bringing the joy of live choral music to generations of Shetlanders as singers and audiences.

Fast forward to 2024 the choir is alive and kicking and preparing for a series of concerts around the isles starting with the May Day Song concert at the Big Kirk (St. Columba’s) on Wednesday 1 May.

The choir will be singing arrangements of some weel kent folksongs such as Loch Lomond and the Skye Boat Song, as well as Shetland folk and fishing songs, and some from further afield in Sweden and Hungary.

It will include a very lively song that is usually celebrated on May Day in Sweden around a fire! There will even be an opportunity for the audience to join in with several choruses.

Shetland Community Choir performing with the Edinburgh Soundhouse Choir, Mareel, 2022
Photo: Chris Brown

The choir is also participating with the Shetland Community Orchestra in a ‘scratch choir’ collaboration.

This is an event not only for folk who love singing in choirs, but also for those who perhaps only have time to sing in the shower or the car. We’re inviting them to take part in a community event and join a bunch of like-minded people to rehearse and then perform with our community choir and orchestra at the Clickimin Centre in the evening on Saturday 11 May.

The organisers of the event are Justin Rhodes and Chris Horrix, who is also the choir leader, and Alistair Justice will be conducting.

We’ve put together a programme which includes some well known choruses, and which we know participants will enjoy singing. Most of the choruses will be sung in English.

  • Brahms Song of Destiny
  • Puccini Humming Chorus
  • Verdi Triumphal Chorus from Aida
  • Verdi Chorus of the Hebrew Slaves from Nabucco
  • Handel Zadok the Priest
  • Sibelius Finlandia Chorus

You can register to take part in the Scratch Choir at the Shetland Community Orchestra website here.

Music will be available to download online and print off, and links to YouTube rehearsal videos for each part will be provided, so you can take a look at them before we meet up to rehearse. There will be optional rehearsals on Friday, followed by a social event for participants, and rehearsals on Saturday during the day. Members of the Shetland Community Choir will be taking part, so there will be plenty of support for new singers.

It isn’t often that folk living in Shetland have the opportunity to hear opera and choral pieces accompanied by an orchestra, so even if you don’t want to take part in the singing, please do come and listen to what we hope will be a memorable community event. That’s 7.30pm on Saturday 11 May in the Clickimin Bowls Hall.

Onwards and upwards the choir hopes to attend three local agricultural shows to attract singers, accompanists and conductors (this can be a shared position, which has worked well lately, giving each conductor a chance to have time off when needed).

There will also be the much-anticipated Christmas carol concert which the choir also hopes to take to one or two country halls.

Tickets for the Mayday concert are online now here.

To join the choir and for any other information, please contact Johan Adamson at 


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