The RSNO Community Interviews

Aimee Toshney, leader of the RSNO Dundee Workplace Choir

The RSNO Workplace Choir Dundee is led by Scottish Soprano Aimee Toshney. Here, Aimee shares a little more about the choir.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to lead the RSNO’s Dundee Workplace Choir.

I LOVE singing! I did a master's degrees in Musicology and Performance and worked professionally as an opera singer for a few years until bad health forced me to step from performing and move back home to Scotland. At about the same time I was discovering a great joy in facilitating singing for other people, teaching, leading community choirs and developing outreach projects.

What is involved in leading the choir? What do you most enjoy about the role? Are there any challenging aspects?

We're very laidback and I bring a selection of repertoire to each session from which I can pick and choose as suits the flow of the rehearsal and who is there each week. We always have a wee moment of mindfulness to start and at least one silly warm-up, then learn pieces in two or three part harmony. I love seeing the positive impact it has on people and it doesn't matter who you are or where you come from - in choir we're all equal and all part of the team. There's also a lot of laughter and it's genuinely good fun!

How would you describe the Dundee Workplace Choir to other people who might be interested in taking part? 

The choir is essentially a small community choir, very relaxed and friendly, with no auditions or charge to attend. Everything is taught by ear so there's no need to read music, lyrics are provided and we do a very eclectic mixture of repertoire so there's something for everyone!

What difference do you think taking part in something like the Workplace Choir can have on those taking part?

Oh, there are so many benefits! Improved mental and physical health - singing in a choir is scientifically proven to be good for you. You'll always feel better after one of our sessions!  Singing is good for your brain, your breathing, your blood pressure, your posture... the list goes on.

Finally, what is your favourite piece of music and why?

Classically, I love Britten and Bernstein. As a child I used to watch West Side Story on repeat on VHS and Peter Grimes is just the most phenomenal opera I was ever lucky enough to perform in.