A few members of the choir met at 6pm on a warm and sunny Sunday evening 21st June to take part in the national Ode to Joy tribute to the country’s frontline workers during the Covid-19 pandemic. This was a nationally organised event to allow everyone in the country (from president Michael D. Higgins downwards) to show their appreciation for the dedication and sacrifice of frontline workers by singing or playing Beethoven’s Ode to Joy at the designated time, in multiple private and public locations throughout the country. Special words had been composed for the occasion by Catherine Ann Cullen, Poetry Ireland Poet-in-Residence (https://www.odetojoy.ie). Our performance took place at the bandstand in the hollow near the entrance to Dublin’s Phoenix Park.
It seems that we were not the only people with the idea of performing at this location, as after arriving we were joined by some members of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and their families, who were planning to do the same and perform an instrumental version. We ended up performing together, with singers being accompanied by instrumentalists, which turned out to be a happy partnership.
Given that Beethoven is sadly being robbed of some of the glory of the celebrations of the 250th anniversary of his birth this year, after performing the special version of Ode to Joy we decided to sing a choral arrangement of Beethoven’s original composition, followed by a couple more pieces from the choir’s repertoire. Click here if you’d like to watch part of our Facebook livestream of the occasion.
As well as giving us the opportunity to pay our own tribute to frontline workers, it was also a great pleasure for some of us to meet and to sing together for the first time since our last rehearsal at the beginning of March. Hopefully we’ll have more opportunities to meet and sing as lockdown restrictions are being eased over the coming weeks and months.