We speak to performer, composer and musical director Eamonn O'Dwyer about what he loves about leading the City Academy Singers choir.
Eamonn has led the choir since it was founded 18 months ago and has helped drive its transformation from a small cluster of founding members to a 45-strong group of voices that meet and rehearse in Liverpool Street once a week.
As the choir prepare for their biggest show yet this summer, Eamonn updates on how things are taking shape. He also talks about the amazing energy of the choir, how he has seen the friendship of the students grow week to week and how many benefits choir singing brings.
Hi Eamonn. What do you enjoy most about working with the Singers choir?
We laugh! It really is always one of the funnest rehearsals of my musical week - the energy in the room is wonderful, and everyone is so hungry for new material!
We can’t wait for the summer show. The show is called Solstice - can you tell us a little about what can we expect this time around?
The summer solstice is of course the longest day of the year, so we want to recreate that feeling of a wonderfully long summer’s evening with some gorgeously rich songs. We’re singing some real anthems in this programme - big songs, with big messages and emotions - and now that we're working with some amazing string players to complement the choir, the sound is going to be magnificent.
One of the loveliest things for me, having been with the choir since the beginning, is seeing the friendships that have formed.
We certainly reached a peak for our show Light Up The City in December, but then had a huge influx of new members in January, which has taken us to a completely new level. I’ve been arranging things with more complex harmonies, textures and ranges - it’s really exciting!
What do you enjoy most about the performances?
I love sharing our work with an audience. We all get so much pleasure out of the music from week to week; it’s really gratifying to put that on stage for others to enjoy too.
Could you tell us a bit about the social side of the Singers choir?
One of the loveliest things for me, having been with the choir since the beginning, is seeing the friendships that have formed. Also, the guys have been really supportive of my other composing work in the theatre, and there have been a few group trips to see my shows in and around London. I think the social aspect of the choir is a hugely important foundation for making a good sound.
I don’t think there’s anything better for you than standing in room full of people, filling your lungs with air, and singing!
We hear a lot about choirs being fantastic for well-being. What do you think are the benefits of choir singing?
I don’t think there’s anything better for you than standing in room full of people, filling your lungs with air, and singing! To join in harmony with a group, however large or small, is a very therapeutic thing, especially in a big and potentially isolating city like London. It’s also good for posture, breathing, confidence, and the musical benefits are obvious, but most of all I really believe it’s good for the soul.
The City Academy Singers rehearse every Monday evening at Dutch Church, Liverpool Street.
- For more information about the choir, or to arrange a taster session, click here >>
- If you'd prefer to work on your technique before joining a choir, find out more about our Beginners Singing Lessons, here > >