12 October 2011: Arts Council choral training bursaries scheme announced

Exciting training opportunities for the estimated 25,000 people who sing in choirs each week in Ireland

National Choral Singing Week 2011 (8 -16 October 2011) sees the Arts Council announce a new bursaries programme for choirs from all over Ireland.  The new Choral Training Bursaries scheme, which will be managed by the Association of Irish Choirs, is designed to address the training requirements of choral singers outlined in the policy document, Raising Your Voice, which was published by the Arts Council in 2009 after widespread consultation with the choral sector.
This one-off scheme with a 25 November deadline will assist established amateur choirs in accessing high quality training programmes for their singers in the areas of sight-singing, ensemble singing, musicianship and vocal production. 
Independent, community-based choirs, choral societies or singing groups which are more than one year in existence, are eligible to apply, provided they have a core committed membership and a regular programme of activity.  Applicant choirs must also have a committee or governance structure and up-to-date public liability insurance.
Joint applications from a number of choirs will be accepted to avail of choral training.
The Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC) is the Arts Council-funded national resource organisation for choirs and choral music.  Now based at the University of Limerick, the Association is a national membership organisation of some 500 choirs.  Among its activities are the provision of informational, educational and support services to choirs through its website, running seminars, courses, the Annual Choral Conducting Summer School and master-classes.  The Association of Irish Choirs is also the parent organisation of the Irish Youth Choir and the newly-formed Irish Youth Chamber Choir.
Speaking about the new Choral Training Bursaries Scheme, Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council, said: "There is an extremely vibrant choral music fraternity in this country and thousands of people nationwide reap the benefits of singing and performing choral music. This once-off scheme is aimed at supporting the training needs identified by the Arts Council in its choral policy report, Raising Your Voice. I am delighted that we are announcing this scheme today and that the Arts Council is collaborating with the Association of Irish Choirs in reaching out to the extensive network of choirs around the country."

Liz Powell, CEO of AOIC, said: "The choral bursaries scheme is particularly timely given the exponential growth in choral singing in Ireland.  It will now be possible for a choir or a number of choirs working together to apply for funding to run training and education programmes, specifically tailored to the needs of their members, wherever they are located in Ireland."

For further information on this scheme and application detail/forms contact: AOIC at 061 234823 / aoic@ul.ie or www.aoic.ie

For further details also about National Choral Singing Week 2011 see www.aoic.ie

Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.
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Desert Rose, (oil on board) - Colin Middleton, 1975, Arts Council Virtual Gallery.

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