‘A ZERO COMMITMENT CHOIR’ is the tagline that’s fuelled the rise of a quirk of the Irish music scene, the wonderfully boisterous ‘Sing Along Social’. The concept is simple: several lively ‘craic mechanics’ put on a few of your favourite cheesy records, and you crowd together, a mass of euphoria with the most innocent of aims: to belt them out at the top of your lungs.
Aoife McElwain, who started this glorious, carefree cheese-fest, stumbled across the idea almost by accident. “A few years ago, a friend and I discovered we were both obsessed with Alanis Morissette’s ‘Jagged Little Pill’,” she recalls. “We thought it would be a hilarious idea to get together and just sing it from start to finish. Then we thought about who else might like that, so we could invite them along.”
“It turns out we know too many people who liked the idea, so we booked a room on a local pub and then thought why not put it on Facebook, in case anyone else wants to join us. The next thing we knew, over 1000 people wanted to come.”
Things have barely let up since. Sing Along Social have two monthly events, at MVP in Dublin 8, and The Sugar Club, just off St Stephen’s Green, There’s an ever-diversifying list of themed days, corporate events and hen parties, and McElwain – also an Irish Times food writer and the author of a book on time management, ‘Slow At Work’ – has made this boisterous party her full time job, one that’s now close to fully booked for the remainder of 2019.
“I’ve always been a bit of a dork,” she laughs. “I think my job at Sing Along Social is to be the first person to make a fool of myself. When I do that, and nothing bad happens, it helps get things going. I put on this pink boiler suit and I’m just not afraid of anything. I think Sing Along suits introverts and extroverts. It’s not like karaoke as everyone sings together. In a sense, we just push play and see what happens.”