A LACK of men saw Bandon’s Glaslinn Choir become an all female affair back in 2005 – and they haven’t looked back since.
The group are celebrating their 50th anniversary with a fundraising concert, a performance in Amsterdam and a specially commissioned pendant.
They’re also on the look out for new members and insist you don’t even have to be that good a singer – just up for some good old fashioned fun.
The choir, which first took to the stage back in 1969, and was the first adult community choir in Bandon, had its first meeting at the old Bandon Vocational School.
Carol-Anne Horgan chairperson of the Glaslinn Choir explained: ‘It was the head of music at the VEC at the time, Pilib Ó Laoghaire who asked Tom Powell to be our first musical director and to set up this community choir. ‘And at the time, when the choir was first formed, it was a mixed voice choir but we lost the men along the way.’
From the beginning the choir proved that they had that ‘special something’ as they won the first competition they ever took part in at the Cork International Choral Festival just a year after they were formed.
‘The choir took part in the 1970 Cork International Choral Festival and won one of the competitions that year,’ Carol-Anne continued.
‘We have people from all walks of life from Bandon and the surrounding area. We are community based and there are no auditions, just come along and join in. We’re firstly a sociable group that come together to sing and enjoy the music, and apart from the many charitable events and competitions we have taken part in we have also travelled to other competitions and events around Ireland and Europe down through the years.’
It was back in 2005 when the lack of men taking part in the choir forced the ladies to go it alone.
But Helen O’Mahony, PRO said: ‘The choir’s ethos hasn’t changed, we are still a very sociable brunch and we are always looking for ways to support local charities.
‘We meet every Wednesday night at St Peter’s Church and our repertoire ranges from traditional, classical, religious to modern pop and rock. We’ve have great fun but we are still very competitive.’
Today, the multi-award winning choir has 30 members from Bandon and beyond, and the ladies are busy preparing for their 50th anniversary series of events and celebrations, which culminate with a special anniversary concert, scheduled to take place on Friday, May 24th at St Patrick’s Church in Bandon. Funds raised from the anniversary concert will go to Cork ARC cancer support house and the Bandon Hyperbaric Oxygen Centre.
Carol-Anne said: ‘As part of our anniversary year, we’re heading off to Amsterdam to take part in a choral festival there from March 14th to 17th and of course we have commissioned our necklace from local designer Catherine Ronan and then of big concert at St Patrick’s in May.
‘We will have two guest soloists on the night, soprano Linda Kenny and tenor Dan Twomey both of whom have West Cork connections.’
The new necklace, a beautiful fuchsia, representing West Cork was created by Catherine especially for the choir. And was proudly displayed at the choir’s celebration launch, at a wonderful evening held on Wednesday February 6th.
Margaret Desmond, the Glaslinn Choir’s longest standing member said: ‘We got our new formal choir uniform last year. While we’ve had wonderful members and musical directors down through the years, who have worked hard and were dedicated to making the choir what it is today, we want to especially thank our incredibly talented current musical director, Antoinette Baker for all her support and help.’
Tickets for the Glaslinn Choir Anniversary Concert are now on sale. They cost €20 for adults and €10 for students, and are available from choir members, and in Bandon at O’Farrells, Hickey’s, Brooke’s Pharmacy and at the Bandon Hyperbaric Oxygen Centre.
• For more see glaslinn.ie or their Facebook page or call to St Peter’s Church on Wednesday evening at 8pm where you’ll get a warm welcome.
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