1,100 singers to join RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Brophy for a free, open-air concert at Collins’ Barracks, featuring new work by composer Shaun Davey and writer Paul Muldoon.
Young Louth Voices will be one of the 31 choirs taking part in ‘A Nation’s Voice’ this Easter Sunday afternoon – an open-air, free performance taking place at Collins’ Barracks, Dublin, presented by the Arts Council and RTÉ, in association with the National Museum of Ireland, the Association of Irish Choirs and Music Generation, as part of Ireland 2016. This spectacular, one-off event will include the world première of ‘One Hundred Years a Nation’, a major new orchestral and choral work commissioned for the occasion by RTÉ from composer Shaun Davey with text by writer Paul Muldoon, in addition to orchestral works by Seán Ó Riada and Bill Whelan, and a massed choirs performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah. The concert, presented by Miriam O’Callaghan, will be broadcast live on RTÉ One, on RTÉ Radio 1 and on www.rte.ie/1916.
12 youth choirs from Music Generation partnerships across Ireland will join 18 adult choirs and RTÉ Cór na nÓg in performance, including Louth’s very own Young Louth Voices. The choir, founded in 2013 by Music Generation Louth, is conducted by Patricia Hegarty and comprises of children’s choirs in Dundalk and Drogheda. Membership to both choirs is open to young singers from 2nd class upwards. For this performance of ‘A Nation’s Voice’ Patricia and the older members of her Drogheda group are joined by members of Music Generation Louth’s Dundalk Children’s Choir.
On announcing ‘A Nation’s Voice’ earlier this year, Orlaith McBride, Director of the Arts Council, said: “This is a truly national event, with choirs from right across the country, and the Arts Council is very proud to collaborate with RTÉ, Music Generation, the Association of Irish Choirs and the National Museum of Ireland in its presentation. We’re very excited about this extraordinary event on Easter Sunday and we would encourage everyone who loves music to try to be there or tune in to RTÉ Television and Radio.”
Noel Curran, Director-General, RTÉ, said: “Participation and inclusivity have been at the heart of plans for RTÉ 1916 and A Nation’s Voice is no exception. The scale of public involvement, whether as performers, attendees, listeners or viewers, will create a truly unique event of quite epic scale. RTÉ 1916 is pleased to be a part of this special partnership with the Arts Council, Music Generation, the Association of Irish Choirs and the National Museum of Ireland.”
In excess of 1,100 voices from 31 choirs and 18 counties, from Cork to Donegal, will join with the full forces of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Brophy in performance. Paul Muldoon will also narrate One Hundred Years a Nation. The performance, lasting one hour approximately, is free to the general public. Tickets, which are free of charge, have been allocated via a public lottery. Applications are now closed.
Some of the choirs have formed especially for the occasion. The singers range in age from 9 to those of senior citizen age, and all participating choir directors have worked closely with conductor David Brophy in advance of their individual rehearsals at local level.
Speaking of his role as composer, Shaun Davey said: “It was both a responsibility and a challenge to compose the music for A Nation’s Voice,” “First, to provide a fitting setting for Paul’s evocative text, second, to write music for the choirs which is musically and vocally satisfying, and third to help find expression for a year in which the nation not only marks the past but also looks forward to the future, by including a song that contains wishes of hope for future generations.”
Writer Paul Muldoon said it was a privilege to be invited to write something for such a big public occasion, but also unnerving. “Our hope is that it’s a piece that will give people something to think about as they look back on the remarkable achievements of our first century and look forward to meeting the challenges presented by the next one. Most importantly, we wanted to give people a tune they can whistle as they get on with their day”.
Date: Sunday 27 March 2016
Venue: The National Museum of Ireland, Collins’ Barracks
This concert will be broadcast on RTÉ One, on RTÉ Radio 1 and on www.rte.ie/1916.
Shaun Davey (with text by Paul Muldoon) – One Hundred Years a Nation (World premiere / RTÉ commission)