The Loving Life Choir is the first community choir to have formed in the Moneymore Area, making its debut in December 2019 at the Drogheda Christmas Festival.
With just over 30 members, most children had never taken part in a choral group before joining the Loving Life Choir.
'We had a wee bit of worry about some reactions to setting up a community choir but if we didn't challenge things, nothing would ever change,' explains Ken O'Heiligh, who founded the choir. 'To get started, we dropped a leaflet in every letterbox in the area and it has really grown from there.'
It wasn't all plain sailing at the start! The choir's first rehearsal was beset by wind and driving rain as members huddled together under a small canvas marquee at a neighbourhood green space. Despite the weather, they sang 'Walking on sunshine', without a care in the world, creating a memorable moment that captured the essence of the initiative.
The choir has also experienced a number of setbacks, including COVID-19 restrictions which resulted in the cancellation of its performance at Drogheda's St Patrick's Day Parade.
Far from being discouraged, choir members remained positive and were back in action recording the music video 'What About Us' in June.
'Things just clicked straightaway (with the choir); there's real talent there and we're doing our best to create opportunities to allow the kids to grow and get experience singing together
The Choir's proudest moment was in 2019 when it was honoured with first place in the Community Integration Allianz Awards.
Mr O'Héiligh said Choir members can be very proud of their resilience, determination and achievements so far.
'The choir has a number of kids from different backgrounds that met for the first time at rehearsals and now they are the best of friends; others come from different musical backgrounds and were keen to join in," he said.
'Everyone brings something different to the choir; here's hoping we can push on and do the Moneymore area proud.'