Refusing to be silenced by coronavirus; Cork choir sing out apart but still united on St Patrick's Day 

Refusing to be silenced by coronavirus; Cork choir sing out apart but still united on St Patrick's Day 
Members of the Fermoy International Choir sang their parts and then shared the moment with their fellow choristers. Picture courtesy: Graham Clifford

Members of the Fermoy International Choir were among the many people around Cork today who refused to let the current coronavirus crisis stop them celebrating our national holiday. 

The group had been scheduled to sing in the square in Fermoy for today’s St Patrick’s Day celebrations. With the event cancelled, they came up with a plan B.

“Our community choir is very tight knit," choir coordinator Graham Clifford said. "We have almost 100 people spanning 32 nationalities. 

"We stand united at all times and so today we knew we had to sing together in one way or another. 

"So, we decided that at 11am, when we should have been performing in the square, we’d all go into our back gardens and sing there instead. Then we filmed ourselves and shared the videos. It was very special.” 

Choir members sang ‘Trasna Na dTonnta’ and donned the green for the virtual choir performance.

The initiative was picked up by the local and national media here in Ireland and by BBC Breakfast TV in the UK - and the choir, under the leadership of choir master Lisa Dunphy, has vowed to keep singing.

“This is a very difficult time for everybody," Mr Clifford said. "Societies that are cohesive, strong and caring of all will do best. We have to look after each other, no matter where we come from or the passport we hold, and adhere to the advice of health professionals. 

"The days ahead will be difficult but one day we’ll all come together again to sing. That’s our focus now." 

And Ms Dunphy believes the act of singing together, as we’ve seen in Italy and elsewhere during this crisis, can be very important.

“Group singing has always been recognised as a way of lifting the spirits," she said. "It's essential we all do our best to keep those spirits lifted now, and what better way to do it than through song.”

Members of the Fermoy International Choir sang their parts and then shared the moment with their fellow choristers. Pictures courtesy: Graham Clifford
Members of the Fermoy International Choir sang their parts and then shared the moment with their fellow choristers. Pictures courtesy: Graham Clifford

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