Singer Sara Weeda: “Anúna has opened up a whole new world for me”
For Sara Weeda from the eastern Dutch city of Enschede, being a member of the Irish choir Anúna remains an exciting adventure. “One day we might perform just down the street from where my parents live, the next day we’re in China. It’s amazing!”, Sara laughs. “Ever since I joined this choir, a whole new world has opened up for me.” From 7 to 23 December Anúna will again be touring the Netherlands. For Sara it will be her 10th Christmas tour around the country with the choir.
Originating from Dublin, the Anúna choir has long been Ireland’s pride and joy in the field of a capella song. Wearing appropriate period attire, the choir members present a repertoire ranging from medieval church songs to contemporary compositions by the choir’s musical leader, Michael McGlynn. The singers sometimes also disperse throughout the performance hall, sounding their voices from all corners while carrying a burning candle.
Sara is the only Dutch member of Anúna and tremendously enjoys the performances. “Years ago a friend brought this remarkable choir to my attention,” she says. “So I started watching their YouTube films and thought they were absolutely brilliant. I was immediately captivated by their magical song melodies and spent hours listening, analysing and singing their music. What is it that I find so appealing? It’s the timeless quality of their music. And I love the harmonies that typify Michael’s compositions.”
Sara was eager to learn more about Anúna’s music. When Michael McGlynn visited Papendrecht to give a choir workshop she immediately signed up for it. “I told Michael how much I had immersed myself in his music, and he indicated that perhaps I could do an audition someday.” When the choir travelled to Vlissingen for a Christmas concert, Sara was fully prepared for it. “I had just turned 18 and felt sick with nerves for the audition, but then it was actually very relaxed and informal,” the singer recalls. “Michael was mainly interested in my natural voice and deliberately had me sing a Christmas song I had not rehearsed.” After the audition, Sara was invited to travel to Ireland for a Summer School and concert in Dublin.
Sara didn’t think twice, and it turned out to be an unforgettable experience. “Standing there in my cape bearing a burning candle in my hand, amidst all the other choir members, I was just waiting for someone to turn on the light and say it was all a joke!” But it wasn’t a joke, and ever since Sara has been performing with Anúna. “From the very start, the other members gave me the feeling I belonged. In this group we continually learn from each other, and in that way each person has his or her own role in the choir.”
“How do I see my future?” Sara doesn’t need to think twice about that either. Smilingly: “My life will always be devoted to music. Besides Anúna I also write and perform my own work with my bands SeeD and Crashing Bats. These worlds are perfectly complementary, for the things I learn about music and about performing with Anúna are very useful for my work with my own bands, and the same applies the other way round. And then Anúna opens up all these other doors as well: for instance side projects with other choir members, or like recently, singing two songs for the soundtrack of the Nintendo-game Xenoblade Chronicles 3!”