Bearsden Choir: Beth Taylor

Beth Taylor, 18, is one of the newest, and youngest, members of Bearsden Choir. As this past, difficult year for singers everywhere has unfolded, she has had her entire experience of being a member of the adult choir happen online.

Just completing her first year studying music at the University of Glasgow, she is leaving to start studies in vocal performance at Birmingham Conservatoire in September.

How did you begin singing, and become involved with Bearsden Choir?

“My mum sings with the RSNO Chorus, so she started me with the National Youth Choir of Scotland’s Mini-Musicmakers. Then when I was eight years old, I started with the RSNO Junior Chorus. I also learned the piano and at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s Junior Conservatoire my first study was singing and my second study was clarinet. I’m still having clarinet lessons online and I also haven’t had a singing lesson in person in a year now, which is a really bizarre feeling.

READ MORE: A Bearsden singing group show how it’s possible to remain in harmony throughout an emergency

“I knew Andrew Nunn [Bearsden’s chorusmaster] from RCS Juniors and I was really keen to get involved with a choir. I needed some sort of singing with other people that I wasn’t getting anywhere else. I joined the choir in September 2020 and it was the first opportunity I’ve had of singing with an adult choir which has been an absolute joy.

“I joined on Zoom, and we haven’t had any in-person rehearsals because of the restrictions but you can feel the radiance of the choir through the computer. People are so excited and eager to sing together.”

What has being in the choir meant to you during the pandemic?

“If I hadn’t been singing with Bearsden Choir I think I would have been really struggling with confidence in my singing. It helped me prepare for the auditions for Birmingham Conservatoire and it has been such a joy learning new repertoire like Mendelssohn’s Elijah and now the virtual Vivaldi as well.

“It is a lot of fun, but it’s quite a bittersweet feeling that I will not have sung with choir before an audience. I’ve got all my fingers and toes crossed that that may happen in the future.”

What has been the choral highlight of your singing life so far?

“A couple of years ago the RSNO Junior Chorus was invited to sing at the BBC Proms in the Royal Albert Hall. We were singing with the orchestra and the adult chorus on the stage, but the Junior Chorus was up on the top tier of the hall as far away as you could get from the stage on the other side of the hall. No-one could see where we were and we were singing Britten’s War Requiem, which is such an atmospheric piece. Singing in the Royal Albert Hall at the BBC Proms was such an experience.”

And what has been the best part of your time with Bearsden choir?
“For our Inspire Sessions we heard from conductors, composers and singers. The experiences of  Catriona Morison and Stephanie Maitland, who is now at Vienna State Opera, showed how you can come from different backgrounds and be successful. Hearing about their struggle gave me huge positivity.”

The Bearsden Choir’s “virtual choir” performance of Vivaldi’s Gloria will be free-to-view online at 4pm on Sunday May 30.