A young Laois woman who is a volunteer with Youth Work Laois is starting up her own choir for young people.
Amy Phelan is a 21-year-old student from Mountrath and is in her third year of studying a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Voice at the University of Limerick.
As part of her degree, Amy is spending a couple of months on work placement with Youth Work Laois and has decided that Laois needs a fun choir for young people.
The choir is due to start up soon, it will be called Sing! and there is already huge interest from young people across the county.
Speaking at the launch of Youth Work Laois Strategic Plan 2017-2019, Amy explained why she wants to set up a youth choir in Laois.
“I want to set up a choir for young people from 10 to 18-year-olds, not a boring choir, something fun and energetic so I will be getting them breathing properly, using vocal techniques and teaching them the way I have learned in a safe, comfortable way.
“To be honest when I first started singing I was very nervous and not very confident at all, I found myself kind of looking to find something that would build up my confidence. I am now in three choirs, two in Limerick and one here in Raheen.
“When I first joined the choirs I found myself forgetting the stress of life, forgetting the stress of school, college, work whatever it was and I was immersed in what I was doing, immersed in singing, it was so emotionally amazing.
“It felt like everything was just forgotten about and that is what I am here for, I really want to bring what I know, bring that feeling that I felt, that I feel in choir, to the young people of Laois and to build a choir of trust, where young people feel comfortable that they can show off their skills.
“I can bring skills I have learned in college to them. Something fun, a choir can sometimes come across as being boring in mass or whatever but this is going to be different. I think I have noticed around Laois especially I haven't come across any real young choirs may it be gospel or something fun anyway," she said.
Amy's younger sister joining the local choir showed her the difference it can make to a young person.
“I am in a choir in mass now in Raheen, my younger sister is nine and she at first was hesitant about joining this choir and when I see her now it is amazing and it really boosted me to get the young people involved in something like a choir that I really want to start up.
“I am so lucky to have Elaine and Clive and all of the staff here that are really pushing me to do this and build up my own confidence with kids as well as theirs. I am hoping to get started very soon,” Amy said.
Amy will be taking her idea around to the different youth groups in Laois to get more young people with an interest in singing on board.
Youth Work Laois run a Youth Arts Platform which encourages young people to step up on stage and have a go at performing arts. From singing to playing instruments, rapping and reciting poetry, this platform is giving young people the spotlight they need to develop their talents.
Amy is hoping that young people all over Laois will get involved and a big goal of hers is to put on a show with all choir members in the Dunamase Arts Centre in Portlaoise.