The BARA Singers are gearing up for their annual marquee event Songfest this June.
The BARA Singers have become an intrinsic part of community life, growing organically from a first meeting in October 2005 of a group of active retired people who liked to sing together have fun, entertain and be creative.
Offered as an optional winter activity to an already very busy active retirement association in Ballinasloe eleven ladies and two gentlemen signed up initially. They continued for the season of weekly two-hour rehearsals learning songs of all genres. Some remain the backbone of the group. The group have performed mainly in nursing homes, recitals, concerts, exchanges with other ARAs, Dawn choruses, and amassed a considerable repertoire.
Songfest came about in May 2012 when the group who had just been formally named as the BARA Singers collaborated with the Western region of ARAS for a concert in the Town Hall. The first Songfest was an ‘Andre Rieu’ style music event with Noel Madden as Musical Director and a Songfest ensemble of musical friends from the neighbourhood, violins, flute, trumpet and piano.
The format has not changed since but there have been many collaborations along the way, with Slua Cairde, Gaelscoil, Cancer support Choir, Omna Singers, and many more. Over €10,000 has been distributed over the 7 Songfests to many including worthy causes including Special Olympics, Children’s hospital care, music bursaries etc.
After a two-year hiatus the group of singers got back to their weekly rehearsals at the start of the year. The programme for this year includes a tribute to Charlie Chaplin. Marie Power Musical Director of the BARA Singers expalns: “Songfest also always includes a taxing major classic, we hope to do justice to Mascagni’s Easter Hymn from “Cavaleria Rusticana “, and the light and fun are in “Trip The Light Fantastic” from Mary Poppins. “ Returns “ some Big Band favourites and some folk songs make up the rest of the menu ! There’s always an audience opportunity in our singalong part of the programme.”
On Thursday, June 2nd in Gullane’s Hotel at 8 pm BARA Singers will present Songfest 8 with Ballinasloe Town Band. Tickets are €10 and are available at the door on the night. They can be pre-booked by calling (087) 979 0416. Proceeds will benefit local needs and charities as they have done so in the past.
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