The Cavan Singers were very excited to have been chosen as one of the many choirs from all over Ireland to take part in A Nation's Voice in Collins Barracks on Sunday 27 March to celebrate the 1916 rising. We started rehearsing the music for One Hundred Years A Nation in September 2015. We all realised from the beginning what a wonderful piece of music this was. Our musical director, Eileen Tackney, attended a workshop with David Brophy and came back full of enthusiasm for the project ahead. We listened to our lines on CDs and mp3 players in our cars and kitchens and out walking the roads of Cavan. Our heads were full of roaring stags, turf banks, stream beds and yellow bitterns booming.
A Nation's Voice choir with sign language interpreter Amanda Coogan, Collins Barracks, 27 March 2016. [Photo: Barry Cronin]
On Easter Sunday morning we headed to Collins Barracks. It was amazing to be on stage with 1000 people including 300 children. During the morning rehearsal with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra the sun shone and we had a display of helicopters flying by followed by a formation of seagulls who seemed to enjoy our singing.
Standing on that stage, hearing the wonderful music of Handel, Sean O'Riada, Bill Whelan and Shaun Davy made me realise how privileged we were to be there. This was made possible by past and present musical directors and accompanists, long standing choir members and new members who will hopefully keep us singing into the future.
Cavan Singers. [Photo: Barry Cronin]
After a hot lunch we were back on stage for the performance as the dark clouds gathered and the audience started arriving to sit on wet seats in blue raincoats. As we opened the concert with the Halleluiah chorus the heavens opened. The wind rattled the roof of the stage just as our stag rattled his great horned head. The weather did not affect the performance of the choir, the orchestra, the soloists or Paul Muldoon, the narrator.
Paul Muldoon's words for One Hundred Years A Nation included a potted version of our history. His images of the past were stark but true, unromantic but realistic and his hope for the future optimistic for our children. The children who sang with us on Easter Sunday will not be around for the 200 years celebration but hopefully some other children and choirs including the Cavan Singers will sing 'Let’s celebrate today, let’s hear the great stag roar...two hundred years a nation'.
Paul Muldoon and David Brophy with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and A Nation's Voice choir, Collins Barracks, 27 March 2016. [Photo: Barry Cronin]