TWENTY-eight students from Colaiste Iosaef secondary school in Kilmallock are preparing to sing their young hearts out this Thursday when they perform for a place in the prestigious RTE All-Island School Choir Competition.
The teenagers will travel to the Cork School of Music to compete against four other secondary schools from the Southern region for a place in the all-island final.
A total of 38 schools initially entered from the southern region. This is the first time that a Limerick school has reached this far in the nationwide competition.
RTÉ will screen the four provincial heats of the competition - each featuring five choirs - on successive Sundays beginning this Sunday, October 18 at 7.30pm on RTÉ One in a series presented by Anne Cassin.
Colaiste Iosaef will feature on television screens on Sunday, October 23 at 5.30pm.
“They are rehearsing non stop. It’s fantastic. From our point of view it shows the level of musical talent in the school,” said Sean Twomey, school principal. “It’s a real honour to be the first Limerick school to reach this stage of the competition. In our eyes they are already a success regardless of what happens on Thursday,” he added.
As part of the television series, the school welcomed a crew from RTE last week including presenter Tommy Gorman, who took footage of the choir rehearsing ahead of the southern region final.
The five schools from the southern region will each perform two songs.
The Colaiste Iosaef chamber choir, which includes students from second year to fifth year, will perform May the Road Rise to Meet You and Feeling Good.
Fifth year student Niamh Webb O’Rourke from Kilmallock who loves to sing, is relishing the experience.
“We are going to Cork on Thursday morning, we have rehearsals for the day and then we have the show on Thursday night. We are getting there now – everyone is pulling together,” she said.
Fellow student, Aisling Ahern, is equally as pleased with their progress.
“It’s great, we are loving it – we are rehearsing all the time. The songs have to contrast each other so May the Road Rise to Meet you is slower and Feeling Good is quicker,” said the 16-year-old.
The four provincial winners will compete in the all-island final, a one-hour live programme from the newly-refurbished Ulster Hall, Belfast on November 15 at 6.30pm on RTÉ One. In recent years Coláiste Iósaef has established itself as a centre of excellence in music and arts, which was evident from their production of Footloose last year which saw sell-out crowds over four nights at the People’s Hall in Kilmallock. The chamber choir is led by musical directors Ms Elaine Davern and Ms Emer Glancy. The overall winner of the all island competition will receive £5,000 sterling and the three other finalists will each receive £1,000. The competition is sponsored by Titanic Quarter Ltd and is also assisted by the reconciliation fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The adjudicators include Seamus Crimmins, RTÉ’s Head of Performing Groups and Dr Angela Feeney, music teacher and opera singer.