Organist’s comeback for choir scheme

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PLANS to create a new Wigan community choir are to be boosted by an ex-local musician’s homecoming.

Neil Shepherd, the former organist and director of music at Standish Parish Church is returning from his new base in Cornwall for a concert this Friday at St Peter’s Church in Hindley.

He will play a lively and varied programme of everything from light classical to jazz, ragtime and show tunes along with the church’s resident organist Jim Archer.

The evening will raise money for Vocal-Eyes, a new community choir which Jim is founding to encourage people from Hindley, Abram, Bickershaw, Hindley Green and Platt Bridge to give singing a go.

The new choir will be launched with a workshop run by Jim and Neil at St Peter’s Church on the morning after the concert, ahead of starting in September.

Jim said: “The choir is open to all, with no musical knowledge or ability required. There are no auditions and people won’t be expected to sing on their own. Experienced choral singers are just as welcome as bathroom and golf course singers.”

Wigan-born Neil is no stranger to getting people involved in music, having re-launched the Standish Festival and more recently taken over the running of the 400-strong Cornwall Community Choir.

He says he is looking forward to lending his talents to help get the Hindley choir off the ground, and promises Wigan audiences an enjoyable and varied musical evening at the concert in St Peter’s.

Neil said: “I am looking forward to returning to the Wigan area and Hindley in particular to help support what is a fabulous initiative at St Peter’s Church as well as meeting old friends.

“The programme is not for the purists, it will include a lot of things that you don’t normally hear played on a church organ and the building will be rocking.”

The concert begins at 7pm. Tickets are £3 on the door.

The Vocal-Eyes workshop takes place at the same venue on Saturday at 10am.