With the support of the West Cork Mental Health Services, the seeds are being sown for a West Cork ‘BIG SING’, which will take place on Wolfe Tone Square in Bantry on Saturday, October 10 — World Mental Health Day. The event is part of a programme of activities designed to bring awareness to issues surrounding mental health and is intended to develop and grow into an annual event. Local community choir Acapellabella based in Ballydehob will have Thursday evening ’open door’ sessions beginning September 10 and running up to the event. All are welcome to come along to these sessions, meet the group and learn the ‘BIG SING!’ songs. Additional workshops are being lined up in Bantry, Dunmanway and Castletownbere to create further opportunities and everyone is welcome to join in with no previous experience of group singing required. The aim is to bring song onto the streets and smiles onto faces!
The awareness for singing as a means for promoting positive mental health has become more widely acknowledged over recent years and in response to this more and more groups are being set up. The inclusive community choir has become particularly popular for its ability to provide a place where people can share the joy of singing without the need to be able to read music or to audition. It provides a space where a diverse group of people can enjoy the pleasures of singing together without pressure or judgement. It also offers an opportunity for people to make new friends and provides something for people to look forward to each week while helping to encourage self-confidence in creating a sense of comradeship and belonging. Many participants have commented on how they feel uplifted and destressed following a session.
With a vision of a community that is rich in music, Community Musician and Choir leader Caz Jeffreys has initiated and facilitated a number of community choirs and singing groups around Cork and West Cork since 2003. In response to the diversity of people and musical taste within the Cork community, she has integrated her work within many public sectors, facilitating groups in a variety of styles and genres. Most of her work is done Acapella – meaning the unaccompanied voice, which she believes provides for a more creative and learning environment. In 2014, she was awarded a first class honours in her MA in Community Music, during which she targeted her studies towards community singing for the elderly and those with dementia; she has since been working with a dementia choir in a nursing home in East Cork. She is currently developing a training course and mentoring programme aimed at assisting others who would like to deepen or develop their experience in leading groups in singing.
For further information on the West Cork ‘BIG SING!’ please contact Caz on 083 1425599 or by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.