NEARLY 900 voices soared and filled Glasgow Royal Concert Hall yesterday, bringing songs from the Caribbean and burning plains of Africa to brighten up a dreich and drizzly afternoon.

An initiative of Glasgow Unesco City of Music, the city's first Big Big Sing day is one of the highlights of the cultural programme of the Commonwealth Games and was embraced by all ages. The hall, packed with members of choirs across Scotland and enthusiastic amateurs, got in tune with a selection from the Big Big Commonwealth Songbook, which includes work from Scotland's Corrina Hewat, and from as far afield as Samoa, Jamaica and Kenya.

The idea of the project is to bring together people of all abilities and make it as easy as possible for them to sign up and start singing.

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And P6 pupil Rhiannon Green from Banchory Primary School in Tullibody found her voice when she volunteered to sing on stage with choirmasters Eugene Skeef and Stephen Deazley.

Big Big Commonwealth Songbook curator and arranger, Mr Deazley said: "The Big Big Commonwealth Songbook is a celebration of global traditions, cultures and musical genres, embracing folk and roots music alongside songs by contemporary artists - it has been a great treat to delve into the rich choral traditions that the Commonwealth has to offer.

"We want to find simple and engaging ways for everyone to open themselves up to new languages, melodies and choral traditions and to make it as easy as possible for singers of all abilities to have a go themselves."

Available at, the Songbook includes online learning resources for each song enabling choirs and individuals to download, listen to, learn and sing the songs in celebration of the Games.

Big Big Sing is working to promote the songs to choirs throughout the Commonwealth, and they will be heard at events including the Big Big BIG Sing in Glasgow on July 27 as well as flashmob choirs and performances during the Games.

Christine and David Francis from Clynder, are members of the Peninsula Choir and said they hoped to get involved in the July event. "Singing is great because it's something everyone can do and it's very inspirational," said Mrs Francis.

Organisers aim to promote singing for its social, health and wellbeing benefits. Singing in a choir improves concentration, releases endorphins. And it improves breathing and posture and raises confidence.