A CONDUCTOR who 'breathed new life' into a Greenock choir has thanked its members as he prepares to move on to his next role.

Andy McTaggart joined Greenock Philharmonic Choir (GPC) as musical director in August 2017.

The 36-year-old studied at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama — now known as the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS).

He did some conducting during his time there, but mainly focused on singing.

After graduating, he spent two years as young artist at the Scottish Opera, before finding an agent and travelling as a singer for several years.

Greenock Telegraph: Andy conducting the choir at last month's performance of ElijahAndy conducting the choir at last month's performance of Elijah (Image: Greenock Philharmonic Choir)

Andy said: “I’m a bit of a home bird. I came back to Scotland and started doing a bit more teaching.”

After joining GPC, he went on to build up many happy memories with the group.

These include last month's performance of Mendelssohn’s Elijah at Lyle Kirk, which Andy said was a highlight for many people in the choir.

He also recalled the group’s first in-person rehearsal following the national lockdown in 2020, which was held outdoors in the Beacon Arts Centre’s car park.

He added: “It was the most glorious day — not a cloud in the sky. We were together for the first time in 18 months.

“Being in a choir is about being a community and a family — it was a lovely moment.

“The arts were so badly hit during lockdown. Not many groups have come out the other side of it looking stronger than they were before. It’s a credit to the choir.”

Greenock Telegraph: The choir recently closed their season with their annual dinnerThe choir recently closed their season with their annual dinner (Image: Greenock Philharmonic Choir)

Calum Harbison, the choir’s chairperson, said: “Greenock Philharmonic Choir members are sorry to see Andy go, but he leaves us in a good place and with great memories. 

“Andy helped to breathe new life into the choir over the last six years. 

“We were inspired by his knowledge of music and vocal technique, by his huge enthusiasm for the music which we all love, and by his communication skills and witty turn of phrase. 

“All of these qualities made our rehearsals and performances really enjoyable.  Andy also saw us through the difficult lockdown times and helped us to keep things going online.”

Andy made the 'hard decision' to step down from his role with the choir after accepting a new job as he did not want to continue if he could not put 100 per cent effort in.

He will now return to RCS to take up the position of lecturer of local performance.

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The choir is now looking to the future 'with optimism' under conductor Nick Wilks.

Andy said: “The choir is wonderful. They have been so kind and generous with their time. Thank you for the six years.”

Those interested in joining the choir can complete the fill in a form here.