Every Monday night, a chorus of women’s voices ring out at the Cantabile Vocal Ensemble in Bishopstown Community School in Cork. For 10 weeks each term, the night class brings together a group of women who enjoy singing together in a fun, but hard working environment.
“The group learns how music works, the different styles and we’ve moved from unison to part singing,” says tutor Dr Mary O’Brien, who’s also a music teacher in Ashton Comprehensive School in the city.
“This year, we’ve introduced songs in Italian and French and that has allowed us to move from popular classics to more classical songs in other languages. It’s about exposing the class to new repertoires.”
The group, aged 16 to 70, are in popular demand and have previously participated in the North Wales Choral Festival and in the Choral Competition in Féile an tSamhraidh, Midleton, Co. Cork.
“We’ve also been invited to sing at the Youghal Choral Society’s Christmas Carol Service, the National Rowing Club’s Community Hall Christmas Bazaar, and in Griffin’s Garden Centre, Dripsey, where we did carol singing to raise funds for a local charity.”
Mary herself brings a wealth of experience to the choir, having specialised in Choral Conducting under Dr Peter Erdei at the Kodaly Institute, Kecskemet, Hungary. “I love bringing my skills to the local community,” she says, adding that the ensemble has proved an uplifting experience for everyone involved.
“It’s a little community of its own – but new members are always welcome!”