THE hills of Drimoleague were alive with the sound of music on Thursday May 11th May with the voices of close to 300 pupils from primary schools in West Cork performing as part of the National Children’s Choir, West Cork. This is the fourth time that the Drimoleague community hosted this celebration of song in the local church, the last time being in 2019.
Children from eight West Cork primary schools performed a selection of songs from classical to popular including Take a Chance, Cantar, With or Without You, Oh Shenandoah, Cúnnla, Mary Had a Little Blues, Laudate Dominum to name but a few. The children were accompanied by a twenty-four piece orchestra, led and organised by Carol Daly, principal of the Cork School of Music and were conducted by Anne Crowley, teacher at St Patrick’s NS in Skibbereen.
Commentary on the night was provided by local man, Paul O’Brien, one of the organisers of the hugely popular Drimoleague Singing Festival. The National Children’s Choir is a school-based choral experience for primary school children.
The choir enables young people to experience the sheer joy of involvement in music and song. Formed by Seán Creamer in 1985 to celebrate European Music Year, the choir has enjoyed tremendous success to date.
The initiative has far reaching benefits, beyond the music element and touches on the various proven mental health benefits of choral singing. Over the course of the year, children in affiliated schools learned a very challenging repertoire of fifteen songs in different parts and in a variety of languages ranging from Spanish, Irish, Italian, Slovakian and Latin. The schools rehearsed together a number of times in preparation for their final concert, which was enjoyed by a packed audience in the glorious setting of All Saints’ Church.
The schools involved in the initiative were: Our Lady of Mercy NS, Bantry; Drimoleague NS, Drimoleague; St Joseph’s NS, Skibbereen; St Patrick’s BNS, Skibbereen; Scoil Naomh Bhríde, Union Hall; Lisheen NS; Goleen NS and Scoil an Chroí Ro Naofa, Castletownbere.