ONE of Scotland’s oldest male choirs has received nearly £5,000 through a community grant thanks to a nearby wind farm.
With roots dating back to the 1930’s, Stonehouse Male Voice Choir has received £4,600 from Banks Renewables’ Kype Muir Community Partnership Fund (KMCP).
The funding allowed the choir to transform its image by creating 20 sets of sleek uniforms in their very own bespoke tartan. They now hope the new-look uniforms will attract more members to the historic group.
President of the Stonehouse Male Voice Choir, Richard Mitchell-Lay has been with the group since 2012 and said: “We’ve been wearing the same uniforms since the 1980’s and we recognised it was time to embrace a more contemporary and modern look.
“The funding allowed us to do just that, and we’re delighted with the new look. To now have our very own tartan is especially important and something we can pass down through the years. We’ve been getting great feedback on how we all look, and people are even starting to say we’re sounding better!
“To be working closely with a developer like Banks has allowed us to unlock what may seem like a small thing but has given us so much more confidence on stage.”
The new uniforms offer a bold, modern look with an open-collar black shirt and trousers paired with the choir’s own custom tartan waistcoat designed by Scotland’s leading manufacturer of tartan Locharron.
The group say they are taking a fresh approach to their music, shifting from traditional choir styles towards more recognisable, contemporary pieces. With this modernised image and repertoire, the choir hopes to draw in younger members so that it may continue long into the future.
Richard added: “We’re a group of 20 and over the years our choir has been getting smaller and trying to pay for uniforms of this quality out of our own funding would have been too great a task.
“We’re very thankful for the funding and hope it will play a huge role in strengthening the choir’s longevity going forward.”
The Kype Muir Community Fund is an initiative by Banks Renewables that provides funding to groups and communities in the surrounding area of its Kype Muir Wind Farm project.
Robin Winstanley, sustainability, and external affairs manager at Banks Renewables said: “It’s heartwarming to see how much of an impact the new uniforms have had on the choir. Local groups like this are at the absolute core of the South Lanarkshire community and it is important they are supported.
“To see the different ways wind farms like Kype Muir can play a role in supporting the local community through community benefits is rewarding – Stonehouse Male Voice Choir is a prime example of that.”
George Smith, Chair of the Stonehouse Community council and the KMCP said: “It is great to see the Male Voice Choir resplendent with their new tartan waistcoats setting a trend away from the usual Blazer and Flannels.
The tartan itself is a lovely clean looking design and of course, unique to Stonehouse Choir as it was patented by them.
Long may the Choir continue to represent the village of Stonehouse and once again the Community Council thanks Banks for the funding to make this possible.”
The fund is part of Banks Renewables’ Connect2Renewables initiative, in which the family firm commits to maximising the economic, social and environmental benefits of all its wind farms in South Lanarkshire.
Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension are set to deliver community benefits equating to more than £770,000 each year made available to surrounding communities.
The 41 turbines of Kype Muir and Kype Muir Extension will have a combined installed generating capacity of over 150MW of electricity per annum. This is enough to meet the electricity needs of more than 120,000 homes, or more than 200,000 people or a city larger than Aberdeen.
To find out more about the Kype Muir Wind Farm Community Fund visit: https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/kmcp
For additional information about Stonehouse Male Voice Choir please visit: http://www.stonehousemalevoicechoir.com/
To find out more about Banks Renewables, please visit https://www.banksgroup.co.uk/renewables