8 Young Midlands Singers take part in first ever Norwegian Choral Exchange

A collaborative project between Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath, Sing Ireland and Ung I Kor (Norway), funded through Erasmus+


Last week, eight young singers from the Midlands travelled to Bergen, Norway to take part in the first ever youth choral exchange between Ireland and Norway. Each of the singers is a member of the Singfest Senior Choir, one of three regional choirs catering for young people aged from 6 to 18 in counties Offaly and Westmeath.  The Singfest Regional Choirs are run by Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath (MGOW) in partnership with Sing Ireland, which also manages Ireland’s flagship youth ensemble, the Irish Youth Choir.

8 Young Midlands Singers take part in first ever Norwegian Choral Exchange

8 Young Midlands Singers take part in first ever Norwegian Choral Exchange

This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to work with Ung I Kor – Norway’s national organisation dedicated to encouraging youth participation in singing – came following a successful application to Léargas. MGOW and Sing Ireland collaborated on the application with Ung I Kor to establish SING, an Erasmus+ funded project.


SING – Singing to Inspire the Next Generation – is a project designed to provide young people who are involved in MGOW/Sing Ireland and Ung I Kor’s singing activities with the chance to explore the wider benefits of being involved in singing activities together, across countries and cultures.


Margaret Broome, MGOW Development Officer told us: ‘the positive benefits of taking part in choral singing are being increasingly documented, pointing to the positive impact singing has on a person’s wellbeing, the development of critical thinking skills, resilience and empathy. Research has also indicated that participation in music and singing activities promotes a sense of connection and community, and are of course a valuable creative outlet, qualities that are also held by the Erasmus+ programme .’


When asked about the choral exchange experience, one 15-year-old singer told us: ‘it was amazing! I’ve been part of Singfest since I was 11 and love it. The tutors and other singers are great, we’re all super friends now.  We couldn’t believe it when we were told we were going to Norway.  While we were there we kept a learning diary just to record everything we did and learned – which was loads – and we made tons of new friends.  We’re looking forward to sharing what we learnt when Singfest starts back again and can’t wait for the Norwegians to visit us next year.


In total, 32 young people aged from 13 to 19 were selected by Ung I Kor and MGOW to take part in the youth choral exchange.  Activities in Norway included singing and a range of social and cultural activities intended to deepen the young people’s knowledge and understanding about each other’s background and country.


Information on Singfest and all of MGOW’s activities can be found on their new website www.musicgenerationoffalywestmeath.ie and on Facebook.

MGOW can be contacted by emailing musicgen@offalycoco.ie


Music Generation Offaly/Westmeath (MGOW) is part of Music Generation, Ireland’s national music education programme initiated by Music Network, co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships. Locally, MGOW is managed by Offaly/Westmeath Music Education Partnership and funded by Offaly County Council, Westmeath County Council and Laois-Offaly Education and Training Board.

 is the European Union programme for education, training, youth and sport for 2014-2020. It significantly increases EU funding (+40%) with an overall budget of €14.7 billion for the development of knowledge and skills and aims to increase the quality and relevance of qualifications and skills. Two-thirds of its funding will provide grants for more than 4 million people to study, train, gain work experience or volunteer abroad in 2014-2020 (compared with 2.7 million in 2007-2013). The period abroad can range from a few days up to a year. Erasmus+ aims to modernise education, training and youth work across Europe. It is open to education, training, youth and sport organisations across all sectors of Lifelong Learning, including schools education, further and higher education, adult education and the youth sector. Erasmus+ provides funding for organisations to offer opportunities to students, teachers, apprentices, volunteers, youth leaders and people working in grassroots’ sport. It will also provide funding for partnerships between organisations such as educational institutions, youth organisations, enterprises, local and regional authorities and NGOs, as well as support for reforms in Member States to modernise education and training and to promote innovation, entrepreneurship and employability.


The Erasmus+ programme is managed in Ireland by Léargas.


For further information on MGOW’s programmes and activities visit: http://www.musicgenerationoffalywestmeath.ie


Further information on Erasmus+ see https://www.leargas.ie/programmes/erasmusplus/

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