A popular Zimbabwean proverb says ‘If you can walk you can dance, if you can talk you can sing!‘: this is now the motto of “Voices of Lecale“, a community folk choir based in the historic town of Downpatrick, County Down, Northern Ireland.
“The choir was formed in May 2007 and developed out of The Singers’ Circle at the Down Arts Centre. This informal weekly night class, now in its 10th year, was developed by the choir’s Musical Director Laura Plummer for people who enjoy singing as part of a group and who are in it for pure enjoyment.
“I founded Voices of Lecale community choir in 2007. It is a registered charity and has an ethos of ‘giving something back‘. All profits from our projects go to charities – a total of £12,000 to date including kidney and cancer research, the RNLI, the Alzheimer’s Society and now PIPS (suicide prevention).
After a long career in public library management I took a career break and never went back! Since 2004 I have been a self-employed musician running and facilitating singing circles & workshops, hosting music sessions and producing music events.
[quote align=”left” color=”#5E96B0″]The ethos of Voices of Lecale is ‘giving something back‘… All profits from our projects go to charities [/quote]I also write, compose and arrange songs and am currently Musical Director of Voices of Lecale community folk choir. I have produced 3 CDs for the Choir and recorded 2 more CDs – one of my own songs and instrumental tunes with The Pluckin’ Squeezers folk group and another Americana CD with the DaisyJanes, a female folk ensemble. I’m an Associate Member of the NVPN (Natural Voice Practitioners Network).”
The ethos of the choir is inclusive – there is no audition to join but choir members are required to make a specified level of commitment in terms of attendance at classes, practices and performances. The underlying principles under which the choir operates are informed by the Natural Voice Practitioners Network (NVPN), that essential means that singing “… is about celebrating the voice you were born with, rather than trying to train it to an ideal of perfection. It’s about building accepting, non-judgmental communities that sing together. It’s about welcoming all voices into a group without audition and working from there to make a group sound … “
The choir released last October their 3rd CD “Voyages“, an album of 12 shanties and songs of the sea plus 4 lovely instrumental tracks with The Pluckin’ Squeezers & special guest Tom McFarland on percussion.
Their previous CD, “Journeys“, was a selection of songs from around the globe including Ireland, Scotland, France, Croatia, New Zealand & more! The sale of CDs and the Christmas concert enabled the Voices of Lecale to raise £5,000 for the local charity “PIP’s“, at Down Arts Centre.
Laura will also guide our students to visit the Fiddler’s International Green Festival in Rostrevor.
The AEL students were Rostrevor once in summer 2010 (see the short movie on our YouTube channel): it was one of the most enjoyable events ever! Rugby tournament, folk music, Irish dancing, concerts and lots of friendly, welcoming atmosphere!
In fact the Fiddler’s festival is not just a show, but a community event that sparkles joy and happiness amid participants. The programme 2014 will be released later on this spring. So, keep tuned on AEL blog and we will keep you informed of the programme at the Fiddler’s Festival!
Are you, dear Parents, thinking to join in this summer and come with us to Rostrevor? Come (with your children permission…) and you will remember it for ever!