THE Sperrin Choir enjoyed their annual weekend away to Roscommon in June.
The choir is a mixed cross-community group of approximately 35 members who perform in four-part harmony. Age-range is 17 and over.
The choir performs twice yearly in the Burnavon Theatre, Cookstown. Other venues include Magherafelt, Dungannon, Portstewart and Portadown as well as many other smaller villages in the Mid-Ulster area.
The range of music performed is extensive. Extracts from all the major Broadway shows, compilations (eg James Bond themes, greatest hits of particular artists), folk music from around the world, pop and jazz, negro spirituals and special Christmas music, both sacred and light-hearted.
Musical Director, Sam Cuddy, is well-versed in sourcing music and compiling programmes which delight local audiences. For example, Christmas 2013 will see two performances in the Burnavon Theatre, as well as a Dunganon venue. The May 2014 concert series will take as its theme ‘Made in Northern Ireland’ with arrangements of music by, amongst others, Van Morrison, Snow Patrol and Phil Coulter.
But what really sets this choir apart is camaraderie and enjoyment. Sam conducts weekly practices in a light-hearted atmosphere with plenty of banter.
Alongside Sam, as conductor/arranger, the choir is most fortunate to have retained Gail Evans as accompanist, despite her employment with the Belfast Philharmonic. Gail, like many other members, retains an allegiance to this choir, where she first performed.
There has never been a better time to think about joining a choir. Gareth Malone has popularised this hobby through TV programmes, working with groups of people in their workplace to create a choir.
After the summer break, choir rehearsals continue weekly from September until May, each Thursday from 8pm until 10pm. You will be assured of a very warm welcome and, if you want to find out more beforehand, please visit the website www.sperrinchoir.com or call 028 8676 4235 or 07968 741439 for a chat with Denis, the chairperson.
Last year the weekend was spent in Donegal and plans are already afoot for the 2014 trip which will be to Cookstown’s twin-town of Plerin-sur-Mer in France. The choir has already travelled twice to France and has hosted a French choir in Mid-Ulster, also on two occasions.