Eleanor sings on new album

The National Girls Choir as part of The National Youth Choir of Scotland
The National Girls Choir as part of The National Youth Choir of Scotland

A Maybole songstress is to feature on the upcoming album by the National Girls Choir, part of National Youth Choir of Scotland (NYCoS).

Schoolgirl Eleanor McMahon will be joined by the rest of the choir alongside renowned Scottish mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, patron to the choir.

It is the sixteen-year-olds firsttime singing with the choir and altough it was a rigorous rehearsal schedule, she thoroughly enjoyed it.

The Wellington School pupil said: “We started rehearsing the for the album during a long weekend in Easter this year.

“By the end of the three days we had the full collection of songs ready to perform.

“This doesn’t sound like a lot of time but the process is very rigorous and we’re all very eager to learn so it didn’t take us long to pick them up.”

She added: “The recording process was tiring as we were recording for two and a half days for hours at a time but we were well looked after and it was very rewarding.”

Eleanor has always enjoyed singing, however it is acting she has her heart set on.

“I’ve always loved singing as a child but I started getting lessons when I took music in S3 when I was 14,” she explained.

“I sang soprano two in the choir as I have a high voice like soprano but I’m good at picking up harmonies which is usual the soprano two’s job.

“I would love to keep up singing after leaving school as I love performing, but I think more as a hobby as I’m interested in being an actress rather than only singing.

“However the two can be very linked so I’m sure if that’s what I’d want to do I’d have the chance to have a bit of a sing.”

It’s not every day that someone gets a chance to sing alongside a top mezzo-sporano and Eleanor said she loved the experience.

She explained: “It was really humbling to hear Karen sing, she has such an amazing voice. I think whenever it was her part everyone wanted to just daze off and listen to her.”

The album, titled Only A Singing Bird, features the first ever recording of Michael Head’s song-cycle Snowbirds.

Karen Cargill said: “This is a beautiful collection of songs.

“I have very fond memories of performing some of Head’s pieces at singing competitions when I was younger, and this gave me a chance to revisit them whilst being involved with the incredible voices of the National Girls Choir.

“They are fantastic ambassadors for singing in Scotland.”

The central song-cycle, Snowbirds, demonstrates Head’s passion and proficiency for sensitive and effective word setting.

It comprises seven songs based on the 1919 publication of the same name by Brahmin poet Sri Ananda Acharya.

Alongside this are the composer’s most popular works, The Ships of Arcady and The Little Road to Bethlehem.

This is the ensemble’s third album on the Signum Classics label conducted by Christopher Bell, and will be released on Friday January 8 2016 priced at £10, coinciding with the 20th anniversary of NYCoS itself.

NYCoS National Girls Choir, chosen from Scotland’s best young female singing talent, demonstrates a freshness of voice and unrivalled diction that receives consistent praise.

Performing regularly throughout Scotland, the Girls Choir is invited to sing at world-class music festivals and events including BBC Proms in the Park and Edinburgh International Festival.