Heidi Winkler O’Donnell – Alto

I started singing with Sligo Orpheus Choir back in 1990, encouraged by my mother Eileen and former musical director Sheila Crowley to join. I was only a baby at the time and was welcomed with open arms every Tuesday night at rehearsals in Scoil Ursula on the Strandhill Road. One of the highlights for me back in the day was traveling to London to sing the Hallelujah Chorus in The Royal Albert Hall. It was my mother’s 50th birthday that weekend and a fabulous time was had by all. Other great memories include singing in the National Concert Hall and The Point Depot in Dublin. We were accompanied by the National Concert Band and The Symphony Orchestra respectively under the batons of two of Ireland’s foremost conductors James Kavanagh and Proinnsías O’Duinn. I took an extended break a few years later to get married and raise my two children. I rejoined in 2013 after meeting Raymond Carty (tenor and original member) on the street one day and he said they were looking to recruit new and old members. So with more time on my hands, I went along and never looked back. It was great to see some old members still there, some had sadly passed away, and meet lots of newbies too. We had a new musical director Austin McManus at this stage. Many great and enjoyable performances were had over the years under his guidance, the most memorable being the trip to Reykjavik to sing in a beautiful church organised by him. I look forward to many more trips and concerts.

Singing in this choir gives me a real positive experience and I enjoy the challenge of learning new pieces especially in different languages. I would encourage anyone looking for an outlet that likes music and song to join. Long may it continue.