The Voices of the Boyne Choir.
They may seem to have been part and parcel of Christmas in Drogheda for years but the Voices of the Boyne Community Choir has just celebrated their first 12 months together.
With one major national title already under their belts, “the Voices” will be holding a concert in the Augustinian Church on Sunday December 15th between 3pm and 4pm.
This is your chance to escape from the cold and the shopping mayhem for an hour to enjoy some festive favourites with the ladies. Tickets are available from the Augustinian Shop and choir members for just €10 each (children under 13 free.
From their crowd-pleasing Marshmallow World and Jingle Bell Rock, to more traditional yuletide carols such as Oh Holy Night, this is one hour which is bound to warm the cockles of your heart, with proceeds going to the North East Rape Crisis Centre, and Aston Village Autism Unit.
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Studies show that choral singing improves our mood, with a decrease in stress, depression and anxiety and now with over 80 members, from new friendships to discovered talents, the benefits have been wide and varied in the year since founder Louise Mahoney put a small post on Facebook seeing if anyone would be interested in joining a community choir...
“I always used singing as a stress release. It's been very important to me and I knew I was searching for a choir that had a lot to offer. Supporting mental health, kindness, support, friendship and of course fun singing and learning. I really feel our choir has all these elements,” says Louise, who also runs the Red Door Project on the Dublin Road.
“Now a year on, I realise we have all the things I was hoping for, and more.”
Musical Director Claire Grogan says being involved in the set-up of the choir has been a truly joyful and fulfilling experience for her.
“Having sung in choirs since the age of eight under some of the best choral conductors in Dublin, studying for a degree in music education and conducting school choirs for 10 years, I have always been involved in singing and music, but this was my first voyage into conducting an adult choir,” she explains.
“The whole ethos of the choir has been to create music in an inclusive and fun environment, but the end result has been so much more than that.
“The sense of kindness, friendship and openness that has evolved from this wonderful group of ladies has been amazing. I look forward to Wednesday every week as it's not possible to go to a rehearsal and not smile. I can't wait to see where it will take us over the next few years”.
Other members have spoken of ho singing in a choir have changed their lives for the better.
“Seeing the post on social media about a new choir has changed my life completely. Although I have lots of good lifelong friends, I didn't have any in Drogheda. I have lived here for 16 years and with working in Dublin found it hard to meet people,” says June Long Rooney. (Photo of mum and daughter attached).
“The choir has become such an important part of my week. I look forward to Wednesdays more than the weekends. Of course, I have my wonderful daughter, Keighlea, to share it with and that's just a bonus.”
And her daughter says she looks forward to singing with her mum every week!
“The choir has become such a huge part of my life over the last year. I look forward to every Wednesday when we sing and to date, I've never missed a week which shows how important it is to me.
“In May this year we travelled to Castlebar to compete in the International Choral Festival in the new choir's category and took the top prize. The memories that were made on that trip will stay with us forever. The choir not only allows music lovers to sing but it had created unlikely friendships and is a brilliant addition to all of our lives”.
Here''s a video of the Voices of the Boyne singing last Christmas at the Laurence Centre: