About the choir

The West Cork Choral Singers, a mixed choir of some 45 members, under the musical directorship of Diana Llewellyn is based in West Cork, Ireland.

The choir holds it’s weekly practice every Monday night in St. Matthews Hall, Church Cross, near Skibbereen – see here for directions. Choir members come from a radius of 40 kilometers and, at last count, comprised eight nationalities. Diversity is the raison d’etre of the choir.

The repertoire is a broad one, with a slight bias towards the more sacred rather than the light-hearted.

History

In December 1990, Reverend Richard Henderson asked Ann Chambers (a locally-based American artist) to invite non Church of Ireland members to help boost the strength of the choir for the annual carol service. The group which eventually evolved into the West Cork Choral Singers first saw the light of day in 1990 at the Christmas carol service in Abbeystrewry Church, Skibbereen. In 1991, the fledgeling choir came together under Ann Chambers for a Christmas carol service in Abbeystrewry Church. A formal choir was formed shortly thereafter and named the West Cork Singers.

The choir initially comprised a very small group: 6 sopranos, 4 altos, 2 tenors and 2 basses. Their first concerts were also small affairs held in Abbeystrewry Hall. In 1995 the choir performed a musical called The Tram, written, produced and directed by Ann Chambers. In 1996 an abridged version of The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan, with Jerry Kennelly as Nanky Poo, Nuala Gibbons as Yum Yum and Margaret Newcombe as Katisha, was performed, with the children of Abbeystrewry National School providing the chorus. In 1997, Ann Chambers returned to America and Margaret Newcombe became musical director.

In 1998, the choir had the good fortune to meet Diana Llewellyn, a classically trained Welsh cellist, who took the choir under her wing and has served as musical director ever since. She was eventually to rename the choir the West Cork Choral Singers.

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