The Courtyard Community Choir, which is based in Ballyearl, is on the look out for new members.
The choir’s new season starts in September, with an informal meet and greet evening planned for Tuesday, September 1.
The choir was set up two years ago, and under the musical stewardship of Judith Watson, has gone from strength to strength.
Judith has recently left her position as musical director, with Maureen Galbraith coming in to fill the role as acting musical director until a permanent replacement for Judith is found.
“We would like to extend a warm welcome to anyone wishing to join the choir. We are made up of all musical abilities, and anyone over the age of 18 is more than welcome to join. I am enjoying the position of acting musical director, but we would like to have someone come in to fill the position on a permanent basis,” Maureen said.
There are a number of songs from various musical genres that the choir performs, including gospel music, songs from the shows and other light-hearted music.
“There is a good mixture of music, which I really enjoy being able to sing and perform. It is good to see that you can make other people happy through your music, whether that’s the other choir members or people who are listening to us,” added choir member Joyce Lindsay.
Currently with 35 members in the choir, there are only a handful of male singers involved. The group would like to attract more men, and are hoping that there will be a few more male faces about come September.
Paul Townsend is a recent addition to the choir, and has been enjoying his time with the group since joining.
“After singing with the council choir I joined the Community Choir. When I joined the council choir I didn’t have any musical background. I learnt how to read music, and my singing improved. One of the big things I get out of coming along to the Community Choir is that it is so relaxing and it does make you feel happy and uplifted. I would definitely encourage more men to get involved,” Paul said.
The choir is very community orientated, with members coming from all over the Newtownabbey and North Belfast areas.
Choir secretary Virginia Davis feels that the group offers more than just a couple of hours of singing every fortnight.
“The choir gives people of all ages and abilities a chance to meet together to enjoy singing a mix of songs. There is a massive emphasis on the community aspect of the choir, and we are welcoming people who want some relief from everyday life,” she said.
Karen McDermott has been a member of the choir since its inception, and feels that there is so much more on offer at the fortnightly rehearsals than just singing.
“When I came along at the start it was very warm and welcoming, and it has continued to be like that over the past two years. It is a brilliant stress buster, and I look forward to coming,” she explained.
Judith McVeigh, who is the chairperson of the choir, is glad that the choir is still going, and feels that it has a role to play in the local community.
“We have had a few ups and downs, but we have kept going. The important thing is that we keep going because there is a need to have the choir,” she said.
The choir will start its new season on Tuesday, September 1 at 7.30pm, and will meet every first and third Tuesday of the month. Rehearsal lasts until 9pm, then the social aspect is continued with the group joining together for tea and coffee and a chat after the singing has finished.
The choir has thanked Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council for is continuing support.
Anyone who would like to take on the role of musical director with the choir should contact secretary Virginia Davis by email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Further information can also be found on the choir’s Facebook page.