Parkinson's Choir reaches out to a new audience at Set Theatre

Parkinson's Choir reaches out to a new audience at Set Theatre
Mary Cody @marygcody

A wonderful evening of entertainment will take place at Set Theatre next month when the Cairdeas Kilkenny Parkinson's Choir take to the stage.

The members have been enjoying rehearsing for the show and will perform alongside several well known and talented musicians including harpist, Siobhán Armstrong, Síle Daly on the oboe, Alexander Rafter on classical guitar and accompanist, James Rice.

The group is always looking for new members and is open to anyone affected by Parkinsons. Most of the member had no previous choir experience.

“The Cairdeas choir is open to people who either have Parkinson's or have a loved one living with the condition There is a real sense of community and shared experience in the choir,” explained musicial director of the choir, Ann Moylan.

“At the moment we have members ranging from young adults up to people in their eighties. There are no auditions and we cater for all abilities. I believe that everyone has a voice and can sing,” she added.

The group meets every Wednesday at 7pm at the Parish Centre in Loughboy. It is informal and there is a lively buzz among the group as they warm up, rehearse and of equal importance have a chat and a cup of tea.

“We start with some warm up exercises and loosen out our upper body. This takes any tension away and makes our voices work better. It involves vocal warm ups and breathing exercises.

“One thing about Parkinson's is that your voice can diminish so singing and doing these exercises can improve your voice. We all have an inbuilt musical instrument in our body which is our voice. The focus is very much on friendship and fun and there is great camradery in the group,” she said.

A short film will also be shown featuring the choir speaking about the group.

“The group offer great support in a positive and uplifting environment.

“The members of the group are the experts on Parkinson's, not me, they are living with it and then sharing their knowledge with the group.

“It is wonderful to see the process - there is a huge sense of achievement and it is fantastic for people to realise that you can learn something new to a good level at any age,” added Ms Moylan.

The variety concert, will mark the official launch of the choir, and takes place on World Parkinson's Day on April 11. It will feature pieces as diverse as the magnificient Nella Fantasia, a song sung in Italian based on the theme 'Gabriel's Oboe' from the film The Mission to the rock classic, Born to be Wild.

Doors open at 7pm and the concert starts at 7.30pm. Tickets are €10 and are available on the door on the night. Finger food is included.