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

    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 ofOne 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 onRTÉ One, on RTÉ Radio 1 and on www.rte.ie/1916 .

    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 www.artscouncil.ie.

    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”.

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