People across East Ayrshire have joined in with a virtual a singalong of ‘Over the Rainbow’ to thank NHS staff and key workers for their hard work and dedication in response to COVID-19.

The event, organised by the Music Education Partnership Group (MEPG), was supported by The Cumnock Tryst and featured performances from Cumnock’s own James MacMillan, Scottish composer, and Ayrshire-born violinist Nicola Benedetti.

Mr MacMillan said: “Music can sustain us at this difficult time – it refreshes the soul, and it is wonderful that young musicians and especially those from Ayrshire are learning this.

“On the first day these young music students were given their instruments the importance of home practice was impressed on them by their teachers.

“That’s how they improve – that’s how they mature and grow as musicians.

“The lockdown will have confirmed that even more, and they will keep their minds, bodies and souls active by playing music.”

On Thursday, April 30 at 8pm, locals took to the street to give their rendition of the classic song at the same time others were out to clap for carers.

MEPG provided musical resources for learners before the singalong so children at all levels could participate.

Mae Murray, Secretariat of MEPG, said: “It was fantastic. Thousands of young people were on the street doing it.

“It is so important right now to do virtual things to keep young people and their families engaged.

“One reason why we chose ‘Over the Rainbow’ is because everyone would know it, from grannies to parents.

“Part of MEPG’S strategy is advocacy for music education so we feel that it is really important to give our young people a real focus on their return to learning, whenever that may be.”

MEPG are asking people to share videos of their performance on twitter using the hashtag #wwmrainbow or sending videos to


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