On Easter Sunday, 27 March, at the National Museum of Ireland, Collins Barracks, months of preparation, planning and rehearsals all over the country will come to fruition with A Nation’s Voice, an open-air, free performance which 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. Also on the programme, Seán Ó Riada’s Mise Éire Orchestral Suite, excerpts from The Connemara Suite by Bill Whelan, including the exhilarating An Chistín, Whelan’s playful interaction between fiddle, feet and orchestra with soloists Helena Wood, violin, Zoë Conway, fiddle, and Colin Dunne, dance percussion, and a massed choirs performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.
A Nation’s Voice will be presented by Miriam O’Callaghan and will be broadcast live at 2:30pm on RTÉ One, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra and on longwave.
More than 1000 voices from 31 choirs and 19 counties from Cork to Donegal will join with the full forces of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor David Brophy to perform One Hundred Years a Nation, which will be narrated by Paul Muldoon. This includes 13 youth choirs from Music Generation partnerships throughout Ireland, singing alongside adult choristers from the Association of Irish choirs, the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and RTÉ Cór na nÓg.
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”.
The performance, lasting one hour approximately, is free to the general public. Tickets have been allocated by means of a public lottery.
Speaking at the launch of A Nation’s Voice in January:
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.”
Minster for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht Heather Humphreys, said: “A Nation’s Voice will be one of the highlights of Easter weekend 2016. It will be wonderful to see more than 1,000 singers – both the young and the not so young – coming together in Collin’s Barracks to mark the centenary in song. This choral celebration will be one of the flagship artistic events of 2016 and thanks to the collaboration between the Arts Council, RTÉ and the partner organisations, people at home and abroad will be able to tune in and enjoy it."
NOTES TO EDITORS
Aoife Lucey, Communications Manager, Music Generation
Tel: +353 1 475 8454 Mob: +353 85 741 5171 E: email@example.com
A Nation’s Voice
Part of Ireland 2016 and RTÉ 1916
Sunday 27 March 2016, 2.30pm
The National Museum, Collins Barracks, Dublin
HANDEL, ‘Hallelujah’ Chorus from Messiah [5']
Ó RIADA, Mise Éire (Orchestral Suite) [9']
BILL WHELAN, From The Connemara Suite [16']*
- The Currach and The Island Terns from Inishlacken
- An Chistin from Carna
SHAUN DAVEY, One Hundred Years a Nation (text by Paul Muldoon) [22’] (WORLD PREMIERE / RTÉ COMMISSION)
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, A Nation’s Voice, an open-air, free performance taking place on Easter Sunday afternoon at The National Museum, Collins Barracks, Dublin.
- RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra
- Helena Wood, violin
- Zoë Conway, fiddle
- Colin Dunne, dance percussion
- Paul Muldoon, narrator
- Massed choirs
- David Brophy, conductor
Facts about the choirs:
There are 31 choirs taking part, of which 18 are adult choirs and members of the Association of Irish Choirs. They include members from RTÉ Philharmonic Choir and RTÉ Cór na nÓg.
The remaining choirs include 12 youth choirs from Music Generation Local Music Education Partnerships.
More than 1000 singers, including senior citizens, and over 300 children aged from 9 to 16.
Choirs are based in 19 different counties across Ireland. See full list below -
- Borris Vocational School Junior Choir, Music Generation Carlow
- Carlow Choral Society, Association of Irish Choirs, Carlow
- Cavan Singers, Association of Irish Choirs, Cavan
- The Escalation Singers and The Burren Children's Choir, Music Generation Clare
- City Of Cork Male Voice Choir, Association of Irish Choirs, Cork
- Cork City SINGS! in 2016, Music Generation Cork City
- Fleischmann Choir, Association of Irish Choirs, Cork
- Donegal Abbey Singers, Association of Irish Choirs, Donegal
- Donegal Youth Choir, Donegal Music Education Partnership
- Culwick Choral Society, Association of Irish Choirs, Dublin
- Gloria DLGC, Association of Irish Choirs, Dublin
- RTÉ Cór na nÓg, Association of Irish Choirs, Dublin
- RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, Association of Irish Choirs, Dublin
- Scoil Chrónáin Choir, Music Generation South Dublin
- The Guinness Choir, Association of Irish Choirs, Dublin
- Marine Institute Singers, Association of Irish Choirs, Galway
- The Unity Singers, Association of Irish Choirs, Kilkenny
- Music Generation Laois National Schools Choir, Music Generation Laois
- Millennium Choir, Association of Irish Choirs, Leitrim
- Sing Together Vocal Group, Music Generation Limerick City
- Cór Chairlinne, Association of Irish Choirs, Louth
- Young Louth Voices, Music Generation Louth
- Cill Aodáin Choral Society, Association of Irish Choirs, Mayo
- Westport Children's Choir, Music Generation Mayo
- Oriel Singers, Association of Irish Choirs, Monaghan
- Midhe, Music Generation Offaly / Westmeath
- Tullamore Academy Chamber Choir, Association of Irish Choirs, Offaly
- Music Generation Sligo Choir, Music Generation Sligo
- Lismore Choir, Association of Irish Choirs, Waterford
- Wexford Festival Singers, Association of Irish Choirs, Wexford
- Blessington No. 1 School Choir, Music Generation Wicklow
We wish to thank Bank of America Merrill Lynch and their team of volunteers for their contribution in making this event possible.
A Nation’s Voice forms part of ART: 2016, the Arts Council’s programme as part of Ireland 2016. ART: 2016 is a diverse and distinctive public showcase of Irish art which will be presented across Ireland and abroad throughout the year. ART: 2016 is made up of five programme strands, including the Open Call National Project Awards, which feature cutting-edge, contemporary art events in dance, visual arts, poetry and music; the Next Generation Bursary Awards which highlight the work of eighteen rising stars of Irish art; and a number of major touring exhibitions, including Making Ireland Modern, which explores the relationship between architecture, infrastructure and technology in the building of a new nation.
A Nation’s Voice will be hosted by Miriam O'Callaghan and broadcast live on Easter Sunday on RTÉ On, RTÉ Radio 1 Extra and on Longwave. The event is part of RTÉ 1916, an ambitious programme of content and events across television, radio, mobile and online which invites people, at home and throughout the world, to watch, listen and take part as they commemorate and celebrate, debate and analyse the centenary of the 1916 Rising. A major RTE event still to come is Composing the Island, a three-week long festival featuring music written between 1916 and 2016 and presented by Bord na Móna in association with RTÉ and the National Concert Hall. Taking place at the National Concert Hall and broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm, the festival will include 6 major orchestral concerts with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and RTÉ Concert Orchestra and a further 20 concerts featuring choral, instrumental, song and chamber music given by a range of performers including the RTÉ Philharmonic Choir, RTÉ Cór na nÓg and the RTÉ Contempo Quartet.
The National Museum of Ireland - Decorative Arts & History, Collins Barracks will open a major new exhibition to mark the centenary of the 1916 Rising. The ‘Proclaiming a Republic: The 1916 Rising’ exhibition will open on Thursday 3rd March. The exhibition will explore, through a selection of some of the most personal and moving objects in the national collections the events of Easter Week, the execution of key figures and the internment of others. In this free of-charge exhibition the visitor will experience the poignant stories of the women, men and children whose lives were intertwined with the fighting that took place in and around the rebel garrisons. More information is available online.
The Association of Irish Choirs (AOIC) is the national organisation charged with the promotion and development of choral activity in Ireland. We do this through a range of programmes and activities designed to respond to the needs of our members, the wider choral community and the public. AOIC activities include developing and promoting choral music in Ireland; Offering mentoring and masterclass opportunities to conductors; Running the Annual International Choral Conducting Summer School giving training and supports to primary and secondary school teachers; Organising singing days and workshops for schools and choirs nationally; Producing and promoting the Irish Youth Choir courses and concerts; Managing a library lending scheme of 14,000 pieces of Irish and other music; and Providing information and advice to choirs. More information is available online.
Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme, which transforms the lives of children and young people through access to high quality, subsidised performance music education. Established in 2010 by Music Network, Music Generation was made possible by a €7m philanthropic donation – €5m from U2 and €2m from The Ireland Funds – the largest ever single philanthropic donation to music education in Ireland in the history of the State. Annually the programme now reaches some 26,000 children and young people in 12 areas of the country (Carlow, Clare, Cork City, Laois, Louth, Limerick City, Mayo, Offaly/Westmeath, Sligo, South Dublin and Wicklow), creating over 330 employment opportunities, mainly for musicians. Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.