A piece in the Irish Examiner made the claim that “people who sing in choirs report significant higher levels of wellbeing.” This article was on research published by Hilary Moss, Jessica O’Donoghue and Julie Lynch at the University of Limerick’s Irish World Academy of Music and Dance in a paper entitled “Sing Yourself Better: the health and well-being benefits of singing”. Before this was published I had already made up my mind to join a choir, a very special choir – one whose performances and concerts I had being attending from near the very beginning. That choir is Cork’s own inclusive LGBTS Choir, Choral ConFusion.
Choral ConFusion was founded in 2010 by Clive Davis and Joanne Murphy in The Other Place, the former LGBT resource centre in Cork City. Since then it has gone from strength to strength, and now has over 50 members.
Now, like joining any group, it can be quite daunting to join a group of that size – it’s a lot of names to learn off – but I was determined. I sent off my email to say I was interested and I quickly got a reply to say I would be added to the list and that the first meeting would be a social. There is no audition, an application form is all you need to join. So after the first Choir get-together in the Bodega I was determined to give it a go, as everyone was so nice and welcoming.
A week later I turn up late, as my train from Limerick had been delayed, and I arrive in the middle of warm-ups. Following the warm up I am handed a folder with my song words for the evening by John, the Chair of the choir, and Adam gets me a seat in the Tenor section. We start rehearsals which are led by Joanne, who is still is the musical director of the choir. Rehearsals start with a music lesson: we are learning how to sight read music, and then we launch in to learning the songs.
Rehearsals start at 6:30 and run until 8:30, but we do have a coffee break in the middle. The break is a great opportunity to get to know people in the choir and catch up with what is happening. Then it is back to the singing until we finish for the evening and some head home while others leave for the weekly social in the pub.
Choral ConFusion accepts new members twice a year, in September and in January. They play a wide repertoire of songs in a variety of languages and have performed in many venues, including the Firkin Crane and St Fin Barre’s Cathedral. To find out more about the choir check out their website, ChoralConFusion.com, and their social media accounts, @ChoralConFusion on both Facebook & Twitter.