Schools given a chance to sing with orchestra

Westmeath County Council is looking for two primary schools in Westmeath to take part in a new national children’s choral project in conjunction with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and conductor Fergus Sheil which will take place in the Convention Centre in Dublin on Saturday November 10.

They are looking for 40-50 students of fourth to sixth class from each school to take part. It would ideally work with a school that already has a choir in existence or has a teacher with a keen interest in music or choral development. The conductor will work with the schools on developing a choral project between September and November 2012 in which teachers will be provided with resources (printed music, text, CDs of the piece, line tapes, midi files, etc ) to enable them to teach the music to the school participants. Each school would receive two to three visits during this period from a choral expert.

On the performance day, schools would be responsible for bussing children to Dublin and chaperoning them. They would arrive at the Convention Centre Dublin and rehearse with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra before doing the performance.

The aim of the project is to mount a performance of a major new work by Belfast composer Brian Irvine and writer John McIlduff entitled Rain Falling Up. The piece is a modern oratorio for massed singing children, a choir of senior citizens, orchestra, narrator and live shadow puppet animation. The piece was written initially for the Ulster Orchestra and has subsequently been performed in Belfast and in Italy. It was short listed for the British Composers Award in 2010. This composition is about 50 minutes in duration and requires a group of several hundred school children (primary school age ) as well as 40-50 senior citizens. It tells the story of a young boy called Jake who discovers how to make a gravity switch and manages to turn off gravity in the world - with some unintended consequences.

The end performances will take place in the new Convention Centre, Dublin on Saturday November 10.

This is a fantastic opportunity for a school to be involved in a high profile and memorable experience involving top Irish artists, the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, and a unique top quality venue. It will provide the participants with a unique artistic challenge while also equipping them and their schools to meet this challenge.

If your school is interested in taking part,contact Westmeath County Council expressing interest, the classes you propose, and name of the teacher who would facilitate the project by Friday March 30. Email [email protected] or call (044 ) 9332140.


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