Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Community Choirs in West Cork led by Caz Jeffreys

For more than twenty years I’ve been working with a cross section of the community, leading music workshops and also with my involvement in community events. Most of my work has been with the setting up and on-going running of community choirs and vocal performance groups in my own area of West Cork. Performance has taken my work into events such as the Cork International Choral Festival, Ballydehob Jazz Festival and also in collaboration with visiting choirs from abroad. I love to travel and meet new communities and so from time to time my work takes me further afield.

Singing for community wellbeing
Since graduating from the MA in Community Music course at the University of Limerick, I have sought opportunities to broaden my experience in working with the different groups within the community with who I have had less contact. This has taken me into a wider section of health care settings as well as working with children and young adults.
In 2015 I was invited by the West Cork Mental Health Services to get involved in a new festival in my area dedicated to promote community wellbeing, and so my long standing desire to bring many voices together to sing a common repertoire found its’ platform in the culmination of a ‘BIG SING!’ However as soon as the event was over it was apparent that this was much more than a one-off event and that a new project had been born, bringing together much of my work and personal desires – a project bringing all walks of life together in song for the mutual benefit of the individual and wider community.

And so the West Cork BIG SING! - ‘Singing for Community Wellbeing’ project was born.
In this project I work with local choirs, community groups and individuals through teaching a common repertoire of songs at workshops and through collaborations. The songs chosen are a mixture of popular and the unknown, some from other countries and walks of life, some I have written and some written as a group effort for the event. They are all chosen with the consideration for suitability of the lyrics... to be acceptable to all age groups and ethical backgrounds, and to have a meaningful message. So far this has brought me working with groups such as Co-Action, the National Learning Network, the COPE Foundation and secondary schools. Members of eight local choirs have also engaged and in many ways have become quite the backbone of the singing, providing vocal strength and support to the rest of the community at the BIG SING! events. Two such events have taken place so far at local community festivals and we are preparing now for the third to mark Mental Health Week 2016 in Bantry.
This time I have taken the project another step further by involving a brass section and drumming group made up of individuals who were inspired to work with me on the project. Their music will be arranged and interwoven within the songs....we will see how this experiment turns out! I think involving local community music groups in the project could prove to be inspiring and rewarding in many ways.
Take a look at this short video which really helps to portray what this event is at:

Community Choirs in West Cork
Kinsale Voices – Kinsale, Cork, Ireland

KINSALE VOICES is a group of enthusiastic, local people who enjoy group singing without musical accompaniment (acappella style). We enjoy preparing songs for performance and taking them out into the local community. We meet weekly on Mondays from 7.30pm – 9.30pm in the Blue Haven Cafe singing in a variety of styles and genres.

AcapellaBella – Ballydehob, West Cork, Ireland

ACAPELLABELLA began in 2003 and has reached out having sister branches in both Clonakilty and Kinsale over the years. We currently meet in the side room of Ballydehob Community Hall on Thursdays from 8pm-10pm and new members are welcome all year round. The styles and genres we sing vary from term to term.

Ceol Na Laoi – Ballincollig Community Choir, Cork, Ireland

An inclusive new choir which is open to everyone in the community. We aim to provide a relaxed space for people to explore the simple pleasures of singing together. The songs we sing include both the familiar and the new, and we also like to explore songs from different countries.
We meet on Tuesdays 7- 9pm in Coaliste Cholilm School, Ballincollig.

I welcome collaborations, meeting and sharing musical opportunities and experiences with others and would be delighted to bring more of my work out to more areas. If you would like to explore any possibilities and discuss options for working with me please feel free to get in touch.

You can find out more about Caz’s work and projects by visiting her website at:
Join her and sign up to newsletters on her ‘Caz Jeffreys Music’ facebook page for regular updates and items of interest at:

Call her on:083 1425599 or get in touch by email at