A LOCAL community choir are putting the finishing touches on their set ahead of performances in France to coincide with a national celebration of music.

Nearly 50 members of Coleford Community Choir are set to embark on their first ever overseas tour between June 18 and 23.

Those dates were chosen to coincide with France’s national music day, the Fetes de la Musique, which takes place on June 21.

The annual celebration encourages people to go out and play music of all genres in their neighbourhoods and public spaces, with a host of free concerts also taking place at venues across the country.

The Coleford choir’s tour is inspired by the town’s French twin, St Hillaire, which sent a young band to Coleford to perform at the music festival last year.

Choir member Michelle Kay explained: “The idea of the French tour started with a brilliant young, up and coming band, called The Dynamite Shakers, who performed at last year’s Coleford Music Festival.

“This was so successful that it made our musical director Sam, rekindle his ambition to take the Community Choir on tour.

“With the help and support of both the Coleford Twinning Association and Coleford Town Council, along with a band of hard-working members and friends, Sam’s wish is finally coming true.”

Sam Davis added: “As a choir, we are looking forward to joining with a local French choir in Coleford’s twin town, Saint Hilaire de Riez.

“The choir will perform a formal concert with the L’air de Rien choir, directed by Madame Maryse Rivalin. The choir will also give two informal concerts at the St Hilaire and Sion markets.”

It is hoped that the two choirs will help the towns twinning “grow in strength and friendship”, and they look forward to welcoming L’air de Rien to perform in the Forest in the future.

Coleford Community Choir, which formed in 2011 with just 13 members, has grown over the years to nearly 50 members today ranging in age from eight to 80.

The choir say their rehearsals, each take place on Wednesday evenings at 7pm at Coleford Baptist Church, are “full of fun and laughter, as well as singing!”

Their past successes include winning their class in the Hereford Performing Arts Festival, as well as taking part in the Choir of the Year competition at Bristol’s Colston Hall Bristol, now Bristol Beacon, and St David’s Hall in Cardiff.

They also regularly take part in Coleford Music Festival and support various charities, including Great Oaks Hospice and the Royal British Legion, throughout the year.