Here is a little of our story ...
In 2010, Nuala McLaughlin and Angela D’Arcy set up an open meeting in a Bridge Street coffee shop for people interested in forming or joining a gospel choir in Sligo. It was well attended, and Sligo Gospel Choir was established. Richard Mitchell, who began by helping out with initial practices, subsequently settled into the role of Musical Director; Nuala and Angela became the choir’s Co-ordinators.
Sligo Gospel Choir has sung at a wide range of events over the last six years. Our church engagements have taken us to many congregations in various denominations and have included Harvest thanksgiving services in Sligo, Boyle and Roscommon, Advent praise services in Riverstown, Christmas concerts in Rathbarron and Tubbercurry, and masses in Carraroe and Sligo city.
The choir has taken part in a large of number of fundraising concerts, including events for the charities supported by local branch of Rotary International; ‘Light the Night’, in aid of Sligo Cancer Support Services; and a concert with the Something to Sing About Choir in support of SCSC and Sligo Hospital Oncology Unit Trust.
In 2013 the choir took part in a ‘Summer Songs of Praise’ presented by Rev. Alan Mitchell of Sligo Presbyterian Church on RTE television; two years later it featured in a similar ‘Gospel Songs of Praise’.
In May 2015, the choir sang outside St Columba’s Church in Drumcliffe before and after the Service of Peace and Reconciliation attended by Prince Charles and the Duchess of York.
Later that summer, the choir sang on the Gig Rig at the Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann to its biggest live audience to date.
Other highlights have included carol-singing; singing at the Christmas party in Globe House, Sligo’s direct provision centre; and an evening of thanksgiving and praise at St Anne’s Church presented by Fr. Pat Lombard in April 2016. At this event, we were delighted to sing with the choirs of the Sligo Redeemed Christian Church of God and The Redeemed Evangelical Mission; this was the first time the three choirs had sung together.
Many of us have enjoyed attending the Gospel Rising festival for several years. It takes place in May each year and is a great opportunity to hear gospel choirs from around Ireland and attend workshops with leading gospel choir directors. We sang at the festival for the first time in 2015 in Bray, and are looking forward to performing again in the future!
In 2015, Co-ordinator Nuala McLaughlin set up a scheme for providing hot meals in Maryville hostel. Working in conjunction with local eateries The Swagman and StreetCart, the choir raises funds through busking to purchase meals at cost price, which are sent daily to the hostel. In July, we sang for an hour in Johnston Court shopping centre, raising hundreds of euro towards the project.
Thinking of Joining the Choir
Thinking of joining the choir? People come for many reasons: choral singing is a hugely enjoyable activity; there is a strong social aspect, from the weekly cup of tea after to the annual barbecue, not to mention the buzz of practices and performances; and singing gospel music can also be an inspirational and spiritual experience.
We don’t audition and you won’t be asked to sing on your own – contact us via the website and we will let you know when the next practice is!
Practices are usually on Thursday nights, 7.30 – 9.00 p.m., in the premises of Sligo Presbyterian Church (Church Street, Sligo). Turn down the Lungy at the Hawks Well Theatre on Temple Street, or walk up Harmony Hill from O’Connell Street and turn right. There is limited parking at the church.