Donegal virtual choir set up to combat potential coronavirus crisis social isolation

Ireland's Choir of Ages reaching out to global audience

Bernie Doherty

Members sought for the Ireland's virtual Choir of Ages

One Donegal musician has come up with an innovative idea to combat the potential social isolation caused by the ongoing coronavirus restrictions.

Bernie Doherty of Buncrana's Music Box music school in Inishowen has established a virtual choir, Ireland's Choir of Ages.

Speaking to Donegal Live, Bernie said although the Choir of Ages was based in Ireland, it was open to anyone around the world.

She said: “Ireland's Choir of Ages is for children and adults to share songs and sing together. I see it as an intergenerational choir for adults and children, singing old and new music, sharing songs and social interaction.

“Ireland's Choir of Ages is an opportunity to do this online. It is open to anyone around the world and is informal and relaxed. There will not be any auditions or requirements to read music. We will just be learning through singing together and, hopefully having a good time doing it.

“We can't always meet up but we can always find a way to come together to sing. I will post videos of some new and some original songs that people can listen to and learn and sing along to. The lyrics of our versions and arrangements will be posted in the comments section under each video.

“We will begin by working through the Choir of Ages book, which we had started here in Ireland and add a few extra Irish songs for St Patrick's week,” said Bernie.

Bernie said members of the virtual choir should feel free to post videos to the Facebook page of themselves singing anything from the Ireland's Choir of Ages songbook.

She said: “We would be delighted to receive videos from anywhere around the world. It is a tough time for everyone, and singing is so good for people mentally as well as physically, so for the duration of the coronavirus scare, there will be no fee.

“If we decide to keep this going after things return to normal, we may upgrade to a video conferencing service and set a weekly charge of about a fiver, so that we can actually sing together. For now, we'll stick to posting videos and lyrics for a few weeks and see how it goes.

“I would ask anyone who is interested in Ireland's Choir of Ages to share the page with your Irish friends or your singing friends around the world. It would be great to know we are all singing from the same book at this very uncertain time,” said Bernie.

Over the next few weeks, the Music Box will also be posting family music for 0 to six year olds on the Boogie Bugs Facebook page, as well as songs and guitar lessons for six to twelve year olds on the The Music Box page.

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