The Cheile Community Choir sings at festival in Italy
THE ‘Cheile Community Choir’ from Little Bray in County Wicklow has returned to Wicklow after their first European tour in Northern Italy.
They were the guest performers in the ‘16th Cori a Sarzana Choir Festival’. Their host choir ‘Coro Sarzanae Concentus’ are the founders of the festival which they organise every year. Residents of Bray gave generously during a fundraising campaign for the journey, and the choir members flew the flag for Bray and Ireland.
Cora Sarzanae Concentus invite a choir from another country to join them each year. It was quite an hon- our for this newly formed choir to be presented with this invitation which came through mutual acquaintances. This trip was made possible by the hospitality of the Coro Concentus Choir. They will in turn be hosted by the Bray Cheile Community Choir in Bray in July 2018.
Community choirs maybe the thing of the future in Italy after meeting The Cheile Community Choir from Bray. The Italians were keen to experience the unique sound that community choir’s produce; but also more importantly learn about how these choirs can change the lives of people who have suffered social exclusion.
They feel now that community choirs could make a difference in their communities. Community choirs sing with one voice and one heart and reach out to the most vulnerable. The ethos of community choirs revolves around social inclusion and this choir were ambassadors for what community choirs truly stand for.
There are no restrictions on who may join these adult choral groups. All that is required is an enthusiasm for singing; there are no auditions, reading music is not a priority. The members learn about singing tech- niques from their director. The director of Cheile Community Choir is Tony Norton. Tony has encouraged and empowered the musical growth of all the members of this choir and got them to where they are now in just over one year. Members have also said that they have gained hugely from the support they receive from fellow members during the Italian tour and at home they are truly bonded after this tour. Eoin Hayden, a young blind man who found his voice in Italy and sang a solo ‘ Time To Say Goodbye’, was outstanding. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church in sarzana.
Also outstanding was Brian Carrol who is autistic and sang a solo in the opera house. Both received tremendous applause and a standing ovation. These were just two of many magic moments.
As the 57 members and supporters toured the Italian Riviera, swam in the Mediterranean and serenaded the locals most evenings; they also joined in. The cultural exchanges and performances in the Sarzana Opera House and the church have greatly empowered the choir. Members said they have the confidence to sing anywhere now.
Cheile Community Choir.