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Debut of new Laois Community Choir and Intergenerational Day coming up
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Debut of new Laois Community Choir and Intergenerational Day coming up

Debut Performance by New Laois Community Choir and Intergenerational Day in Portlaoise Family Resource Centre happening this July!

Age Friendly Laois have joined forces with LOETB Community Education, Music Generation Laois, Portlaoise Family Resource Centre & Youthwork Ireland Laois to deliver two intergenerational projects, a Laois Community Choir and Laois Intergenerational Day.

Rosa Flannery, Music Generation Laois; Gilian Cunningham, LOETB; Tom Curran, Laois County Council; Nuala Kelly, Music Generation Laois; Clive Davis, Youth Work Ireland Laois and Eileen Dunne, LOETB at Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

Laois Community Choir delivered by Age Friendly Laois, LOETB Community Education, Music Generation Laois and Portlaoise Family Resource Centre to have debut performance on Thursday 18 July, in new outdoor performance space on the grounds of Laois Music Centre.

Members of the choir with Rosa Flannery, Music Generation Laois; Gilian Cunningham, LOETB; Tom Curran, Laois County Council; Nuala Kelly, Music Generation Laois; Clive Davis, Youth Work Ireland Laois and Eileen Dunne, LOETB at Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

A new Community Choir initiative began with a pilot phase in May, and is running weekly in both Laois Music Centre and Portlaoise Family Resource Centre, under the direction of Nuala Kelly and a team of musicians from Music Generation Laois. The response has been amazing, with over 160 members “rocking” up and singing their hearts out from the very first session. The choir quickly reached capacity with a broad range of ages and a diverse cross-section of the community taking part.  

Rehersal at Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

The pilot phase of the Laois Community Choir will culminate in a performance at the brand new outdoor performance space, on the grounds of Laois Music Centre in the Old Fort Cultural Quarter on Thursday 18 July, at 7pm, free admission, all welcome. The Community Choir look forward to sharing the joy of singing with an audience at their big debut with Nuala Kelly noting We are blown away by the response and didn’t anticipate such large numbers, it’s wonderful. The atmosphere is amazing, there’s a real sense of community – people just want to sing.”

Warming up at Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

Laois Community Choir is a joint initiative delivered by Age Friendly Laois of Laois County Council,  LOETB Community Education, Music Generation Laois and  Portlaoise Family Resource Centre.

Gillian Cunningham, LOETB Community Education Facilitator said “At LOETB Community Education, we believe in the transformative power of education and the arts to bring people together. This venture is a testament to our commitment to fostering community connections and creating inclusive spaces where everyone can participate and thrive. The Community Choir not only provides a platform for musical expression but also strengthens bonds across different age groups, enriching the social fabric of Laois. Being part of this initiative allows us to witness firsthand the joy and camaraderie that music can inspire. It is heartwarming to see individuals of all ages come together, share their love for singing, and build meaningful relationships. These moments of connection are what community education is all about—bringing people together, breaking down barriers, and celebrating our shared humanity.”

Laois School of music musicians at Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

Joan Bolger of Portlaoise Family Resource Centre added It’s great that the choir is an expression of the inclusiveness of the Portlaoise Community and of interagency partnerships in Laois. To have such diversity and energy in the rehearsal room is energising. New friendships are being made over the cuppa at the break and the smiles and laughs throughout rehearsals. Nuala led the choir in a warm friendly way that brings out the best in everyone. This is what community development and family support is all about.”

Rehersal at the Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

Paul Donnelly of Portlaoise Family Resource Centre concluded “Choirs are hugely beneficial for people’s mental, physical and spiritual well-being. They offer a sense of belonging and community coupled with pure enjoyment and fun. It is fantastic to see the interest, commitment and joy in this 8 week pop up choir and in the Autumn, we hope to harness that energy and see it evolve into a more permanent choir that will provide an outlet for the musical passion of people in Portlaoise and the wider Laois community.

On Friday 19 July, Age Friendly Laois and Youthwork Ireland Laois are joining forces to host an intergenerational day in Portlaoise Parish centre

Rehersal at the Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

Laois Intergenerational Day will bring together members of Comhairle na nÓg and older people from Laois and see generations coming together to discuss current topics, attitudes towards age groups and any other matters that the group raise. 

Rehersal at the Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

The aim of the day is to bridge the generational gap, to challenges perceptions and stereotypes and most of all to bring ages together. 

Some of the benefits of intergenerational work include the creation of age friendly communities, the tackling of issues around stereotyping and ageism and the fostering of respect and understanding.

Clive Davis of Youth Work Ireland Laois is looking forward to the day noting  “The intergenerational work with Age Friendly Laois and Youth Work Ireland Laois is so important. It brings together people of all ages to learn from each other and to build relationships. This work helps to break down stereotypes and to create a more inclusive community.

Rosemary Kunene of Comhairle na nÓg added that “We are delighted to host an intergenerational event with Age Friendly Laois. It would be amazing to see how the two generations interact with each other and help each other to challenge assumptions and prejudices about the older and young people, therefore, improving intergenerational relationships.“

Rehersal at the Laois Music Centre for the Laois Community Choir launch. Photo: Alf Harvey.

Tom Curran of Age Friendly Laois stated that “historically, younger people have always learned from their elders but with busy lives, and with more communication tools that ever, perhaps we have lost the opportunity to have the face to face communications with each other than before. Old and young can only benefit from spending time together and both the community choir and the intergenerational event on the 19th of July is something that will start a conversation and seek to keep it going!!! The response to the community choir has been great and it is great to see such numbers across the ages getting together to share such an uplifting activity.