About Us

How it all began… roughly!

Encóre Contemporary Choir was the brainchild of four very different people but with one big thing in common; a love of music and singing! Having joined numerous choirs in the city over the years, Bernie Boyle, Lisa Davidson and Marie Louise O’Kane were becoming disheartened due to the fact that they were unable to find one that ticked all the boxes. They wanted to find a choir that was exclusively for adults, bringing a level of maturity to it, one that focussed exclusively on contemporary rather than classical or sacred music and one which promoted a strong social bond amongst its members, providing an outlet for like-minded people to share their love of music. Recognising that none of the choirs in the city offered exactly what they were looking for, led them to discuss the possibility of creating a choir that would.

In late October 2010, they made contact with local music teacher Emmet Doherty, briefly outlining their idea. Having been members of an adult choir established and directed by Emmet in the past, Marie Louise and Bernie were already familiar with his experience and affinity for choral ensembles and therefore wanted him to lead the proposed group. They agreed a meeting, and on November 4th 2010, the quartet assembled at a local Starbucks to discuss the proposal. On that date the then-unnamed Encóre was conceived!

The founding idea of the newly formed choir was to “create a professional singing ensemble, but with a focus on the social aspect too i.e. ‘havin’ a bitta craic’ and meeting new people along the way!”. The four wanted rehearsals to be as enjoyable as possible. They wanted members to look forward to their weekly singing sessions, to bond as well as produce a fantastic choral sound. They wanted to challenge the preconceived and stereotypically stuffy notions people had about “choirs” by making this one more accessible, more relevant and ultimately more enjoyable for both members and audiences.

They decided that it should be open to everyone over the age of 21, eliminating the need for auditions therefore taking the panic out of joining for prospective members. This was important to them, because they wanted to attract people who wouldn’t usually take part in an ensemble like this. They wanted to create something new, something different, something the city of culture needed, but didn’t yet have.

With all of this in mind, they booked one of the music rooms in Saint Columb’s College and set about promoting Encóre to the public, unsure who, if anyone, would join. They needn’t have worried, as the choir gained a lot of interest fairly quickly and finally launched on February 24th 2011 with great success. Since these humble beginnings, Encóre has gone from strength to strength, consistently drawing huge audiences wherever they go and garnering rave reviews along the way.

With a sell out concert in Derry~Londonderry’s Waterside Theatre already under their belt, and numerous well-received performances for clients such as Derry City Council and the Ealaín na Gaeltachta/Gaeltacht of Donegal, the future is bright for Encóre Contemporary Choir.