A CHOIR from Appleton will be heading to the world famous Abbey Road Studios after performing at their first major concert this weekend.

Magic Voices will be singing show tunes and film numbers at a showcase at the Pyramid on Saturday.

Then they will be going to the London studio in June to record a single for Children In Need.

There are 15 Magic Voices choirs throughout the country but the Appleton group has only been running for around 18 months.

The 60 members, with an age range of 16 to 80, are led by former West End musical director Andrew Keir who has been impressed by their fast progress.

He said: “They have improved massively but the Appleton choir have been good right from the word go. It’s not just their ability, their approach and attitude has always been marvellous. They attack every new song that I give them with gusto and excitement which a terrific feeling for me.

“Community singing is very big at the moment because there are lots of shows about choirs and musical theatre.

“We’ve got doctors, solicitors, retired people, teachers and a school girl and I think it helps them release their tensions from their jobs and stresses of their ordinary lives.

“Singing is therapy. Not a lot of people have tapped into that but it really is. All these members have their different stories to tell and as a director and as a professional musician I don’t always appreciate that until someone actually says something like: ‘I joined this choir because I lost my husband’,

“It’s a very humbling experience in that way to think that music can do so much for people.”

The choir, who meet at Bridgewater High every Monday, joined three other Magic Voices groups for a concert at the Royal Northern College of Music (RNCM) last summer but the Pyramid event will be their first major solo showcase.

Andrew, from Manchester, added: “I was lucky enough to conduct all of the choirs together for the concert at RNCM. It was the first time I’d been back there since I was a student so it was good.

“But this Pyramid one is just the Appleton members which is really nice for them as it gives them the chance to stand on their own as a choir. They’re hugely excited to be doing it.”

Andrew originally got a law degree at the University of Canterbury and worked as a solicitor for a while before having a complete change of heart.

The 55-year-old said: “I’d played the piano since I was six and my parents got me private lessons but I’d always been told, as people often are in these situations, to keep music on as a hobby. Don’t think of it as a profession.”

He was 24 when he decided to go against that advice by quitting his job and joining the RNCM – but he has never looked back.

Andrew added: “I was a bit older than all their other undergraduates so I was a bit of a wild card for them. But I think they thought because it was my second chance I’d work hard – and I did.”

Andrew studied as a concert pianist and then as a professional accompanist and when he left the RNCM he started working in orchestra pits for musical theatre shows in Manchester.

He said: “I worked my way up from there and worked in the West End and on national touring productions of Les Mis, Phantom, Joseph and Grease.

“I had the pleasure of playing You’ve Got To Pick A Pocket Or Two for Ron Moody, who was the original Fagin in Oliver in both the film and on stage, and I played gala performances of Phantom for the Queen. It’s been a varied life but as you get older you enjoy the touring life less and less as you become a little more grounded so I settled in Manchester.”

So Andrew now lectures and hosts workshops in musical theatre and directs three Magic Voices choirs. He is particularly looking forward to the Abbey Road opportunity.

He added: “It’s a wonderful opportunity for the choir. I remember asking for a show of hands on who would be interested in it before we had even got availability and dates and every hand went up in the rehearsal room which was extraordinary.

“I’m looking forward to walking across the zebra crossing and wondering what Beatle I can pretend to be...”