FORMED ten years ago, Cavehill Community Choir is a friendly and welcoming 'no audition required' choir which has been created to inspire our community to get involved in the celebration of music and singing.

The choir was brought together by Dónal and Helena McCrisken, who concentrated on the musical side of the venture. Also on board was local businessman, Paul Carlin, who oversees the community side of the choir.

"We exist on a principle of no auditions. It is all about bringing people together," explained Paul.

"We do different charity gigs and performances at local nursing homes. We have also taken part in a number of music events in Belfast over the years, probably the best one being the Belfast City of Song event.


"I knew it would take off big time in North Belfast. We had 65 people that turned up at the first meeting."

Like so many community groups and organisations, the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic was huge on the Cavehill Community Choir.

"Singing in groups was one of the most dangerous things you could do. We had a duty of care to protect people," added Paul.

"When Covid hit, it was really heartbreaking for me. The community aspect is the only relationship I have with the choir and that was all gone.

"There was a disconnection that occurred during lockdown when we were forced to meet online.

"We went on Zoom, but it is was very limited. You cannot sing together on Zoom properly and it was more people doing solo singing and the next person repeating.

"But we had around 50 people who came on every week which was great. It showed how important the choir was for people. I really looked forward to getting on every Thursday night for that basic connection with other people.

"We started back at the beginning of the month meeting face-to-face.

"Last week, we had 84 people who turned up, including 11 new members which was unbelievable.

"We are looking forward to our events at Christmas this year and taking part in community events which we were unable to do in recent years due to the pandemic."

With the choir now in its tenth year, Paul aims to work on building the musical and community success it has enjoyed so far.

"We want to continue bringing people together and enjoy it through singing and the celebration of music.

"With our tenth anniversary approaching, I hope we will be able to organise something special to mark it, so watch this space."

Cavehill Community Choir meet every Thursday night during term time from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at Holy Family Parish Centre on the Cavehill Road. New members welcome.