THIS week, Advertiser columnist Ruth Wishart reflects on the establishment of a Rock Choir group in Helensburgh - and the benefits to be gained from singing as part of a group.

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WHEN you’re circa 7 years old and the teacher demands to know “who is the groaner” while the class is chorusing away, immediately prior to identifying you as the culprit, well you tend to have a problematic relationship to singing thereafter.

Just one of the reasons I never contemplated joining our hugely successful Peninsula Choir, which, from a standing start a few years back, now has fifty plus members with a regular performance group of over 40. (One of the other reasons is having too much respect for the friend who is the choir’s director; I value his friendship!)

But I know from the friends who are in that choir that it has changed their lives in so many positive ways.

For one it has brought together all manner of people whose paths might never have crossed in any other circumstances. From which all kinds of once unlikely friendships have sprung.

Allied to that is a range of social happenings loosely billed as choir events, but usually an all purpose alibi for a bite, a glass and a blether.

But the very business of singing together regularly in a group is self evidently healthy and downright therapeutic.

I have a friend who runs a fairly high powered business involving long unpredictable hours with not too much in the way of down time.

Since she was a governor of Glasgow School of Art, she was persuaded to join the GSA choir and attend its weekly rehearsals.

It’s quite a serious, structured outfit which has released a CD and gives a high profile concert every December.

The kind of thing for which she never imagined she could possibly make time. And, as it turns out, the one thing she never, ever misses.

“It’s the one part of my life which is just about me,” is how she explains her new found passion. “It’s the one time in my life when I can really switch off.”

You can see that sort of high level satisfaction, as much emotional as musical, when you watch any of Gareth Malone’s programmes on The Choir, where anyone from rundown communities to military wives, become a tight knit unit immensely supportive of each other, and visibly growing in self confidence. And which of course spawned offshoots like our own local military wives ensemble.

So the news that Helensburgh is to be the latest home for the hugely successful Rock Choir movement is very welcome.

These choirs do what they say on the tin; let the members rip on all their favourite rock numbers. For a certain generation that music will never die, whilst it seems to press the same buttons for subsequent ones. (Otherwise we wouldn’t see stadiums packed with young groupies as well as their elders every time a set of wrinkly rockers does a new tour.)

Get those tonslls tuned up folk. You’ve nothing to lose but your inhibitions.

As Queen told us, people are “Rockin’ All Over The World".