Songs are again ringing out in stadia across the country as football fans return to matches.
But it’s unlikely any are as tuneful as those rising from the stand at Bayview Stadium in Fife this week, thanks to the dulcet tones of the East Fife Male Voice Choir.
The 60-strong group held their first post-lockdown rehearsal on Monday at the home of East Fife Football Club in Methil, filling the stand with harmony.
And instead of chants and ditties, the air rang to Vivaldi, popular musical theatre numbers and beautiful ballads.
The sports ground was an unusual choice of venue for the basses, baritones and tenors who are more used to performing in churches, theatres and even London’s Royal Albert Hall.
But as they talked about reforming when Covid restrictions eased, members realised they’d need a space with plenty of ventilation to keep everyone safe.
That’s where East Fife FC came in and they’ve offered their facilities free of charge.
Choir chairman John Kilgour said one of the members knew someone at the club and asked if they could use the stand.
The answer was a resounding yes and the first rehearsal was so successful it will now become a weekly occurrence.
“It’s the first time we’ve all sung together in 18 months,” said John.
“We’ve all missed it so getting together and singing for the first time has been wonderful.”
Zoom rehearsals were a ‘total disaster’
Until now, the East Fife Male Voice Choir has rehearsed at Pathhead Parish Church in Kirkcaldy.
Their last run through together was in March 2020, the week before Prime Minister Boris Johnston announced the first lockdown.
“We had one or two trials over Zoom and managed to keep up socially,” said John.
“But trying to sing together and synchronise everybody was a total disaster and everybody was getting out of step.
“The choir is about camaraderie more than anything so we were lucky in that a couple of guys took it upon themselves to organise social nights.
“That went on right through to about five weeks ago when we were beginning to open up again.”
East Fife FC are ‘very supportive’
The choir committee then met to discuss possibilities for rehearsing together in person.
“We talked about Beveridge Park or Ravenscraig but somebody happened to mention shelter would be nice in the Scottish climate,” John said.
“We followed up the suggestion of East Fife Football Club and they’ve been very, very supportive.”
Members rehearsed individually in their own homes before they finally came together on Monday afternoon.
While there were a few faces missing, their enjoyment was obvious as they launched straight into Do You Hear The People Sing? from Les Miserables.
The practise was the first of many in the run up to the choir’s annual concert in April.
While the last two were cancelled, they’ve already booked the Old Kirk in Kirkcaldy for 2023.
And East Fife FC were only too happy to help.
A spokeswoman for the club said: “We’re happy to help the community in any way we can after what’s been a really difficult time for everybody.”