“The choir has a special place in my heart – it’s my rock.”

Helena Mollaghan standing with her guide dogHelena Mollaghan (23) is a member of our Visionaries Choir and encourages everyone to give it a go – whether you can sing or not!

“There’s no judgement or expectations in the choir, you don’t have to be a great singer. It’s a really warm, supportive and welcoming space.”

Helena, who has retinitis pigmentosa, joined the choir over five years ago after hearing them perform at Retina 2015. She has always loved music and felt it was the perfect first step into the world of sight loss peer support.

“I was apprehensive and shy at my first choir meeting, I didn’t know what to expect and I was only 18. But everyone was so welcoming and I felt normal, like I belonged. It was brilliant.”

Pre-Covid-19, the Visionaries Choir met every Saturday in the Fighting Blindness office in Dublin. Now, they meet online every Saturday instead. Moving to a virtual platform was tricky but has opened up the choir to people living across the country.

“Of course I miss meeting everyone in-person but our choir master Frank Kelly and his daughter Rebecca work so hard to make it work.

“It’s easy going – a very inclusive environment. It lifts your mood and you feel so much better after it. We sing lots of different songs, from classical to pop music. It’s very therapeutic. I would encourage everyone to give it a go just once, you’ll soon be hooked!”

The Visionaries Choir is Ireland’s only choir for people living with sight loss. Singing in a choir has so many benefits – it can increase social connection, reduce stress levels, keep your brain young and improve your mental health.

The choir always open to new members and to find out more you can contact Frank on fxjkelly@gmail.com.