Cross-community choir: We are not just teaching singing but Christian compassion

A CROSS-COMMUNITY youth choir treated the town of Garvagh to a very special gift this Christmas.

The Garvagh Community Youth Choir (GCYC) was the initiative of St Paul’s Church of Ireland parish, but is open to all children and young people as part of the Derry & Raphoe, ‘growing wider’ initiative.

It is funded by Coleraine Borough Council and the Office of First Minister and Deputy First Minister ‘Good Relations‘ scheme.

It is made up evenly from all parts of the local community and it performed at St Paul’s Service of Nine Lessons and Carols, before Christmas.

The choir has been recruited and trained by the very talented Alice McFaul and Danny Wilson who teaches with Daléceny Academy of Musical Arts.

Danny and Alice expressed their thanks to Rev Whittaker, St Paul’s Mothers Union, the John Mitchel’s GAC, GADDA and especially the parents for their enthusiasm and support.

Danny commented: “Normally Alice and I teach on an individual basis, with emphasis on A-Level students seeking extra UCAS points for university, so teaching a choir of 30+ was a new challenge.

“However, I have to say that the kids have real talent and bags of enthusiasm. The choir sang at the turning on of the lights in Garvagh and Glenullin.”

He continued: “We are not just teaching singing, but hopefully two other life lessons. First, a Christian compassion for others as we collect for the Northern Ireland Cancer Fund for Children, and secondly we demonstrate through the children’s harmonising voices that we as a community are on the intentional journey of reconciliation.”