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A Nation’s Voice: 1100-strong choir to perform major new work on Easter Sunday

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23 January 2016 - The Arts Council and RTÉ today announced full details of A Nation’s Voice, an open-air, free performance taking place on Easter Sunday afternoon at Collins Barracks, Dublin 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, 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 event, presented by Miriam O’Callaghan, will be broadcast live on RTÉ One, on RTÉ Radio 1 and on .

A Nation’s Voice is 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.

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 1100 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 are limited and will be allocated by means of an online lottery. Full details on how to apply can be found at

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”.

// Ends

Media information:

Joe Stuart, Head of Press, Arts Council, Tel 01 6180235/ 087 41 08751

Editors' Notes -

Event Information

Sunday 27 March 2016, Collins Barracks, Dublin
A Nation’s Voice
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 concert will be broadcast on RTÉ One, on RTÉ Radio 1 and on

Programme Information

  • Shaun Davey (with text by Paul Muldoon) One Hundred Years a Nation (World premiere / RTÉ commission)
  • Handel Hallelujah Chorus from Messiah
  • Ó Riada Mise Éire (Orchestral Suite)
  • Bill Whelan Macdara's & An Cistin from Carna

David Brophy, conductor
Paul Muldoon, narrator
Massed choirs
Soloists to be announced

Ticket Information

Tickets: Free, ticketed event. Tickets allocated by means of an online lottery
Booking information:

Tickets will be distributed by lottery and fulfilled through an online ticketing service. Applicants into the lottery will be randomly selected and offered tickets, which they must then confirm before the tickets are ultimately issued. On arrival at the event audience members will either present a print out, a bar code on their phones or a reference number (plus ID, in that case) to gain access.

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 One and RTÉ Radio 1. 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

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

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.