Sligo International Choral Festival are looking forward to welcoming the High Hopes Choir to Sligo. The Choir will open the 28th Sligo International Choral Festival at the Gala Concert in the Knocknarea Arena on Friday 11th November at 8.00pm. The High Hopes Choir will be joined by Sligo’s Orpheus Choir and friends. Tickets are on sale from Liber Bookshop and the Tourist Office, O’Connell Street, Sligo and online via http://www.sligochoralfest.com/high-hopes-choir-gala-concert/
The High Hopes Choir is the culmination of Ireland’s first homeless choir led musically by David Brophy and with the assistance of Carmel Whelan (Dublin) Phil Brennan (Waterford) and Fabrice Fortune (Cork) and Co-ordinated by Glenn Alexander. Working with some of the most recognised charities in Ireland, Dublin Simon Community, Saint Vincent De Paul, Focus Ireland and Penny Dinners Cork, this ambitious performance-based project involves three regional choirs in Dublin, Waterford and Cork. Since coming together in 2014, more than 90 homeless adults, all dealing with Ireland’s homeless crisis, reached beyond their stars, performing, and Learning Education and gaining equality.
The choir was the subject of a three part documentary called High Hopes which aired on RTÉ television in December 2014. The result, according to David, saw the singers ‘reach beyond the stars’, recording a version of Kodaline’s High Hopes with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra which they performed live on The Late Late Show resulting in reaching #1 in the charts; receiving vocal advice from chart-topper Ed Sheeran, former Westlife star Shane Filan and The Voice of Ireland’s coach Bressie; and performing with Lisa Hannigan, Brian Kennedy and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra at a charity gala concert in Christchurch Cathedral, Dublin.
In the last two years, the choirs have performed at numerous high profile events around the country. In June 2105, the choir were invited to play for the President in Áras an Uachtaráin and twice now they have been added to the line-up for Electric Picnic!, whilst also reaching No.1 in 2014 and 2015 with two singles in the Itunes Charts.
There is something untouchable about music. There is something about music that defies all explanation. J.k. Rowling perhaps put it best, when she wrote this of Dumbledore, the headmaster of Hogwarts: “Ah, music,” he said, wiping his eyes. “A magic far beyond all we do here”.
Music celebrates. It communicates. It speaks when words are not enough; it brings us all together. The High Hopes Choir has truly touched hearts. Music has the power to give a voice to the voiceless. Every song tells a story and every single member of the High Hopes Choir has a story to tell – a story that may contain unfathomable loneliness but it also contains courage and faith and strength and honour. It’s also a story that conveys remarkable hope.
Exceptional, amazing and inspiring, every time the High Hopes Choir sing, the people who make it up, remind us of how far they have come – and in doing so, they remind us of how far we can all go. Every time they sing, they subtly convey a fabulous message – that we can get knocked down but we do not have to stay down; that we can fall but we can also rise.
They also show us something that we have learned to be true in our own experience in our own lives. We see how music allows people to come together to create. It injects people with confidence. It calls on people to express themselves. It begs them to flourish.
None of this could be possible however, without all members giving up their time to volunteer 1000s of hours and push forward with singing, but also their desire to raise awareness of homelessness and change the public perception of what it means to be homeless in Ireland today, as well as raising funds to support the services and facilities which play a vital part in ending the cycle of homelessness.
“The Choirs mission is equality; to enable marginalised people to make friends, build their confidence and skills and find their place in society as equal. Our choir members are people who have experienced homelessness/mental Health or who have found themselves on the edges of society for whatever reason.
We want our choirs to provide a safe space where people can express themselves, without being labelled or judged. We aim for our choirs to help our members build their confidence and skills, make friends and move on in education and Life. We also have a wider aim to reduce the stigma faced by our members in wider society.”- Glenn Alexander
Sligo International Choral Festival Competition Times
Please note that all times are approximate.
Friday 11th November
|11.00am||Secondary School Workshop||Gillooly Hall|
|1.30pm||Competition O||Sligo Cathedral|
|3.30pm||Competition P||Sligo Cathedral|
|8.00pm||Official opening and Gala Concert with High Hopes Choir||Knocknarea Arena,
Saturday 12th November
|10.00am||Competition D||Gillooly Hall|
|11.00am||Competition C||Gillooly Hall|
|3.30pm||Competition E||Gillooly Hall|
|4.30pm||Competition I||Gillooly Hall|
|5.00pm||Competition J||Gillooly Hall|
|7.30pm||Sligo Academy of Music Jazz Orchestra Concert||Gillooly Hall|
followed by Festival Club