Have you always nurtured a desire to sing in a group or choir? Are you keen to make contact with other singing enthusiasts and music-lovers in your locality? If so, Sing Ireland is the answer you’ve been looking for.
Sing Ireland has been unveiled as the new name for the organisation that develops, supports and promotes all forms of group singing across the island of Ireland. Recent research from the EU Culture Programme reports that over 229,000 people are involved in group singing in Ireland. With over 300 member groups at present, Sing Ireland, formerly the Association of Irish Choirs, is focused on spreading the word about singing in a bid to encourage even more people to get involved.
The organisation now has a new website – www.singireland.ie – which lists singing groups across the country and anyone interested in joining a group or choir is encouraged to log on to find details of activity in their own local area. Members include children’s choirs, workplace choirs, youth choirs, hospital and care home choirs, choir clubs, university choirs, church and cathedral choirs, choral societies, and choirs for those in older age or active retirement. Whether it’s singing popular hits, classical, jazz, Gregorian chant, hip-hop, gospel or folk – there is a group to suit everyone!
Sing Ireland is encouraging all those interested in singing, regardless of their age or ability, to get involved with a group this year. Studies show that singing as part of a group provides a wide range of health benefits such as improving breathing, posture and muscle tension as well as lessening stress and anxiety. Singing has also been shown to improve our sense of well-being and happiness.
Based in the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance at the University of Limerick, Sing Ireland has an island-wide remit and leads a range of activities for singing groups across the country. As well as providing singers with the opportunity to meet other like-minded people, Sing Ireland also provides information and advice to members, organises singing days and workshops, and manages a library lending scheme of 14,000 pieces of Irish and other music. They also offer a range of training and support services to primary and secondary school teachers, as well as mentoring and masterclass opportunities to conductors and musicians.
Sing Ireland has also committed to further developing young singers across Ireland this year with training at the Irish Youth Training Choir (14 – 17 year olds) and Irish Youth Choir (18 – 28 year olds). Through partnerships with Music Generation, in locations including Offaly, Westmeath and Louth, Sing Ireland works with thousands of young people nationwide at local level to increase participation in group singing.
In addition, Sing Ireland is involved in a number of regular initiatives including the National Choral Singing Week to promote the positive mental health benefits of collective singing, the dawn and dusk choruses to encourage greater participation in choral singing among older people and the Annual Choral Conducting Summer School. The organisation also runs the Irish Youth Choirs.
Speaking at the launch of Sing Ireland which took place at the National Concert Hall, Dublin on Sunday, chairman of Sing Ireland Alan Kelly said: “We are delighted to launch Sing Ireland which will be a more modern and inclusive organisation, reflecting changes in society and group singing over the past number of years. Sing Ireland will look to build on the growing choral tradition in Ireland and expand to welcome all singing groups to our network.
"There is a wonderful opportunity for everyone invovled in this space to transform collective group singing in Ireland and we hope that by working together with partners and funders in the arts sector we can achieve great things.”
Dermot O’Callaghan, CEO of Sing Ireland, says: Anybody who sings in a choir will tell you that participating fully can bring huge rewards, both in the sense of wellbeing and joy evoked by singing, and in the pride of participation to the best of your ability. Group singing is like a team sport - your contribution is as important as that of every other singer in the ensemble. As Sing Ireland, we are looking forward to encouraging more people to get involved and experience the positive impact singing can have on their health and creativity. Get out and get singing today! It really is true that singing can change your life.”
Orlaith McBride, director of the Arts Council, says: “Thousands of people throughout Ireland sing in groups and form an important part of arts activity in their local communities. The Arts Council has supported these communities through partnership with local authorities, and with funding at a national level of the Association of Irish Choirs, over many years. Sing Ireland represents an exciting new phase in the development of group singing, and we celebrate this achievement.”
Sing Ireland, formerly known as the Association of Irish Choirs, was founded in 1980 and is a registered charity. The organisation is supported by The Arts Council of Ireland.