Now, the members of the famed carol-singing, red-scarf wearing St Luke’s Male Voice Choir are joining forces with the city’s all-female Jingle Belles choir for a Christmas choral marriage made in heaven.
Their joint performance in St Luke’s, Summerhill, at 5.30pm tomorrow will serve as a warm up for St Luke’s now annual city-wide carol tour to raise vital funds for Marymount Hospice.
They have raised close to €100,000 for the renowned hospice since the introduction of the smoking ban in 2004 led to their formation.
Cork author, playwright, and choir member Cónal Creedon, said it all started one bleak winter’s evening with a few men smoking at Henchy’s pub in St Luke’s.
“Rather than curse the cold and the government, they decided to sing a song,” he said.
“Others joined in and by the time we got to the second chorus, the St Luke’s Male Voice Choir had been formed. Well, that’s the myth and I’m sticking with it.”
He said singing with the choir every Christmas since has established a lovely seasonable tradition in his life.
Choirmaster Anth Kaley, who has overseen the St Luke’s choir since its inception and who is also the vocal director of the Jingle Belles, said he felt it was a good time to bring the choirs together.
And he said Saturday tour with St Luke’s is now part of his Christmas tradition too.
“The guys dedicate great time to it — it’s great fun,” he said. “Our songs put smiles on people’s faces and we are supporting such a worthy cause in Marymount Hospice.”
The St Luke’s lads have been practicing in the back room of the Belle Vue Bar for seven weeks and now they’re ready to hit the streets.
Fresh from Friday’s concert, they will perform live at St Luke’s Cross on Saturday before embarking on their carol-singing trip around town, finishing up in the Corner House Bar.
They said they will remember especially two valued choir members, Jim Hurley and Ron Casey, who passed away during the year.
The St Luke’s Male Voice Choir CD will also be available in Marks & Spencer, on St Patrick’s St on Saturday.