26 May 2022

Choir of Ages set to shine tonight on RTÉ

Choir of Ages set to shine tonight on RTÉ

Choirmaster David Brophy is pictured with the Choir of Ages - which includes singers from north Leitrim.

It started as an experiment of sorts, a plan to create a choir which linked not only urban and rural communities, but also spanned, quite literally, generations.

Made up of people from north Leitrim and the Crumlin / Walkinstown in Dublin, and with singers aged from 7 to 91, the Choir of Ages has broken down barriers and brought people together in a truly special way.

The development of the choir is the brainchild of acclaimed choirmaster, David Brophy and follows on from his transformational experience with the High Hopes Choir where he proved that music could bring hope and positivity to the lives of men and women affected by homelessness.

David is now working to empower our youngest and oldest citizens, tackle loneliness and digital isolation, and to bridge the gap that exists between them through music with the Choir of Ages.

Now the choir is set to star in a special series bearing its name on RTE, starting tonight, Thursday. The first episode of Choir of Ages will screen tonight, November 30 at 10.15pm on RTÉ1. The series will run over three weeks featuring hour long episodes which will be repeated the following Sunday at 4.40pm on RTE1.

But this is not something that has come together overnight. The creation of the choir began back in April when an Outreach Worker was approached by Tyrone Productions with the idea of forming an intergenerational choir. Following visits by David Brophy to local National Schools in Kiltyclogher and Rossinver, and to the Glens Centre in Manorhamilton, the first “Taster” rehearsal was held at the New Ballagh Centre, in Rossinver on May 23.

The Centre was chosen because of its established and very trusted relationship with older people in rural North Leitrim, but of course, the fact it once served as a church and boasted fabulous acoustics for rehearsals, didn't hurt either!

The Leitrim part of the choir continued to rehearse twice a week throughout the following four months. During this time the Leitrim Choir also staged their first performance to several hundred people at the Stoneywoods Festival in Kiltyclogher on June 30, providing valuable experience and boosting the confidence of the members.

It was not until July 28 that the Leitrim half of the Choir of Ages actually met their Dublin counterparts for the first time, at Glenfarne's famous Ballroom of Romance. Here they were accompanied by the Leitrim Light Orchestra, made up of young people from 7-17.

At the end of August the Leitrim Choir travelled to Dublin, meeting up with their Dublin counterparts again to record and film a music video together of the Coldplay song ‘Fix You’. This video was posted on Youtube and Facebook and to date has in excess of 54,000 views.

The final performance of the Choir of Ages took place during Positive Ageing Week on September 28 at the RDS in Dublin, accompanied by the Blow the Dust Orchestra (an orchestra comprised of older people) and sharing the stage with musical icons like John Sheenan, Una Healy, Paul Brady and Mary Coughlan.

Tune in to RTE1 this Thursday night to see the first episode charting the heartwarming story of the Choir of Ages. It is a wonderful story of inclusion and acceptance and a tribute to everyone involved!

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