CÓRus on Song

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The last few years have seen an underground musical sub-culture breeze through the nation somewhat unnoticed. CÓRus is a group that has set up choirs all throughout the country, with the intention of instilling confidence in people who have no prior musical background or experience of public singing.

The ethos of the group is that everybody has the right and the vocal ability to sing. In the words of co-director Yvonne McDonald, “What we say is that we are ordinary people, but when we come together we make an extraordinary band.”

CÓRus was initially set up four years ago by Yvonne McDonald and her business partner, co-director Mary Lowe, after they were inspired by the work of English choirmaster Gareth Malone and the famed Military Wives choir. The selection of songs practiced and performed by each choir ranges from rock to pop, from classics to contemporary numbers. McDonald spoke to NewsFour about the original idea behind the CÓRus concept.

“We thought there might be an interest out there for people like ourselves who love to sing and want to join a kind of high-brow choir,” she said. “You get an eclectic mix of music in here. We have 18 year olds singing the classics and older people singing something more modern.”

The first choir was set up in Dundrum four years ago and opened to around 40 people. Fast forward to 2014 and the attendance for the Tuesday night choir is closer to 120. There are now 20 CÓRus groups spread throughout the country, all the way from Dublin to Cork to Galway.

Sandymount has its own CÓRus choir that practices every Tuesday in the premises of Star Of The Sea National School. The Sandymount choir has been in existence for the past two and a half years and is led by Kate Fahy. There are between 30 to 35 members of the choir with closer to 700 members of the CÓRus choir nationwide. The group has managed to accumulate a diverse age group, with a no barrier-to-entry policy resulting in members ranging from 18 to 80 years of age.

The Sandymount group performed their end-of-year concert in the RDS on May 29th, where they and other choirs from around the country raised over €5,000 for Pieta House, €700 of which was raised by the choir on the night. However, that is not the extent of the group’s charity associations. At the moment CÓRus are partnered with Spinal Injuries Ireland, who are based on Rochestown Avenue. The choir will be performing at the St Stephen’s Green Christmas market this year, with each individual group giving a special performance.

“We do three terms a year,” McDonald told NewsFour. “By the time we get to the end of the year, everyone is rearing to perform to family and friends. We had nearly 700 people onstage in the RDS and nearly 2,000 people in the audience.”
By Craig Kinsella