Voices of Bray Community Choir Celebrates 10th Anniversary
June 8th 9th and 10th, at the Mermaid Arts Theatre Bray at 8pm.
After a 4-year gap, the Voices of Bray Community Choir returned to the Mermaid Arts Centre for its summer concert series. This year is extra special as the choir celebrates its 10th anniversary and the choir was thrilled to sing to a packed house on all three nights.
Apart from celebrating what has been achieved from a singing perspective, the choir’s anniversary also marks ten years of fundraising for local charities. During that time the choir has raised and donated over €75,000 benefitting 17 different local charities. For this summer series the choir is delighted to be partnering with St. Joseph’s Shankill – Dedicated to Dementia Care.
Founded in 2013, the choir focuses mainly on popular music repertoire with the occasional dip into other genres. Membership of the choir, which is open to adults on a non-audition basis, stands at 130 and is limited only by the size of available rehearsal and performance spaces. Such is the demand for places that there is often a lengthy waiting list.
For many members, Voices of Bray has provided their first experience of singing in a choir. For Musical Director John Ivory, one of the challenges is choosing a repertoire that is accessible to less experienced singers, and yet provides a challenge to the more experienced members – a balance that so far has proved very successful in the development of the choir.
The choir is always seeking new challenges. To date they have participated twice in the North Wales Choral Festival and most recently in 2020 – just before Covid shut down most of the arts industry – the choir achieved 2nd place in the community choir section of the Limerick Choral Festival. That was the choir’s last public performance until our Christmas Concert in December 2022.
Voices of Bray Community Choir Returns with “Welcome to Christmas” Concert
St. Fergal’s Church, Killarney Road, Bray
Sunday 4th December at 7.30pm.
After a three-year absence due to Covid restrictions, Voices of Bray Community Choir was delighted to return to St. Fergal’s Church on December 4th last. The choir, under the direction of John Ivory and accompanied on piano by Justin McCann, performed a heart-warming programme of songs. The packed audience – a full-house of over 650 – responded enthusiastically to the choir’s singing of many Christmas favourites old and new, supplemented by a selection of songs from the musicals including “The Sound of Music”, “The Wizard of Oz” and a medley of hits from “My Fair Lady.”
The concert was staged for the benefit of the local St. Clare’s Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul, a charity which has been doing fantastic work for many years for those most in need in our community. Thanks to the huge turnout for the concert, €5,600 was raised for the charity. The choir also made a donation to St. Fergal’s parish which has hosted the choir’s Christmas concerts since 2015. Voices of Bray now turns its attention to 2023 and in January will begin preparations on a new programme of songs for its summer concerts which take place in the Mermaid Arts Centre from June 8th-10th.
Coming in June – Mermaid Summer Concerts – Bray [Cancelled Due to Covid-19].
Voices of Bray Community Choir returns to the Mermaid Theatre, Bray, for another season of concerts on 4th, 5th and 6th June, 2020
Lots of new songs in this year’s programme with music from Queen, David Bowie, Snow Patrol, Paul McCartney and many more, plus some favourites from the musicals. As always there will be something for everyone in what promises to be a fun evening of uplifting entertainment. Concert proceeds in aid of St. Joseph’s Shankill – dedicated to dementia care.
Tickets available from the Mermaid closer to the time.
Limerick Choral Festival – February 29th 2020
Momentous Occasion for Voices of Bray Community Choir
Storm Jorge didn’t deter Voices of Bray Community Choir from travelling to the Limerick Choral Festival to compete in their first choral festival in Ireland. This well-established choral festival has a Community Choir section, which attracts community choirs from all over the country.
Voices of Bray was the first choir to perform in this section and the choir then enjoyed and appreciated the quality of the other competing choirs. When the adjudicators announced the results in reverse order, with Nas Na Rí (Kildare) receiving the Highly Commended Certificate, following an excellent performance, Voices of Bray assumed they would not be in the winners enclosure this time. So, when Voices of Bray was announced as being awarded 2nd place, the choir nearly brought the roof down with their cheers and applause. Belle Voci (Tipperary) were very deserving winners, by one point.
Musical Director, John Ivory and accompanist, Justin McCann, together with the choir were overjoyed with such a great result. John Ivory said ‘Voices of Bray worked very hard to achieve this success. This result represents a big step forward for the choir’. Rehearsals are now focused on preparing for the annual concerts in the Mermaid Theatre, which will take place this year on 4th to 6th June.
Christmas Concert 8th December
The weather outside may have been frightful as storm ‘Atiyah’ blew its hardest but there was a wonderful warm festive atmosphere in a packed St. Fergal’s Church for Voices of Bray Community Choir’s fifth Christmas Concert. The Choir under Musical Director, John Ivory and accompanist, Justin McCann, was joined by young talented musicians; Eimile Sheehy (cello), Killian Ivory (guitar) and Chris Smith (violin). Niall Sheehy, who has played the West End and featured in Les Miserables joined as special guest singer for ‘You Raise Me Up’ and then entertained the audience with his rendition of ‘A Winter’s Tale’. All the musicians have family members in the Choir, which made it all the more special.
The Choir received a rapturous reception to their programme of traditional Christmas music covering the range from pop (Wonderful Christmas Time), to traditional carols (A Celtic Silent Night, Christmas Lullaby) via a lively a-capella version of Teddy Bear’s Picnic. The successful evening concluded with the presentation of a cheque for €3,500 to St. Clare’s Conference of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. What a wonderful way to get everyone into the spirit of Christmas. All the members of Voices of Bray Community Choir thoroughly enjoyed themselves all the while entertaining a marvellous audience and raising much needed funds for the local community.
Pre Concert news:
Summer Concerts – 6th to 8th June
The summer series of three concerts held in the Mermaid Theatre, Bray were an outstanding success again this year. Under the guidance of their Musical Director John Ivory, piano accompanist Justin McCann, and featuring special guests Eimíle Sheehy on cello and Killian Ivory on guitar, the choir took on its most ambitious and varied programme to date, featuring more challenging arrangements.
The eclectic mix took the audience on a musical journey with songs from Joni Mitchell, Billy Joel, Radiohead, Rodgers & Hammerstein, ELO (and many more), and from shows such as The Greatest Showman, South Pacific and My Fair Lady. The Choir enjoyed singing this programme as much as the audience enthusiastically received it!
Following the concert, a cheque for €6,500, being the the proceeds from the concerts, was presented to the Shauna Kavanagh Foundation. In accepting the cheque, Brendan Kavanagh said that this would help the Foundation enormously in their efforts to assist the families of those suffering from the long term illness, Cystic Fibrosis by helping to offset the day-to-day expenses incurred by families as they support their loved ones. Brendan thanked the Choir for their very generous donation and for the opportunity to highlight their Foundation, which was founded in 2018, following the death of his daughter, Shauna, who so bravely fought Cystic Fibrosis.
Christmas Concert 9th December
Voices of Bray Community Choir, under the direction of John Ivory, and accompanied by Justin McCann on piano, presented their 4th Annual Christmas Concert in St. Fergal’s Church, Bray, on Sunday 9th December. The programme featured Christmas and seasonal favourites old and new along with some unusual arrangements of Christmas favourites.. The second half of the concert featured a visit from Santa Clause and his many Elves.
Following the concert a cheque for €2,620, being the proceeds of the concert, was presented to Lakers; this local organisation aims to enable children and adults with an intellectual disability to develop and nurture their own personal skills and self-esteem in a supportive, inclusive and fun environment. A fire destroyed Lakers’ premises and their fleet of buses in October, so this contribution was very timely indeed.
North Wales – Coral – November.
Summer Concerts – 7th to 9th June