Choral Union to ‘sing with pride’ about Limerick for 50th year

Alan Owens


Alan Owens

Members of the Limerick Choral Union with Mayor of Limerick, Cllr Kathleen Leddin [Picture: Gareth Williams]
LIMERICK Choral Union will mark its 50th anniversary with a concert in April that features a specially commissioned piece called ‘spirestone’.

LIMERICK Choral Union will mark its 50th anniversary with a concert in April that features a specially commissioned piece called ‘spirestone’.

The 110-strong choir will sing the piece, written by classical composer Fiona Linnane and playwright Mary Coll, in the University Concert Hall on April 18.

The much loved choir, which was founded in 1964, was awarded a Mayoral reception by Cllr Kathleen Leddin in her office last week, and secretary Lorraine MacMahon said the choral union has “gone from strength to strength” in the 50 years since its foundation.

“The choir was formed in 1964 and was formed for what is now known as the RTE Orchestra, they were coming to Limerick and there was no choir at the time, so they took people from different church choirs and joined to form the choral union,” she explained.

“It has just gone from strength to strength - 50 years now in April, so it is big deal for the choir, a very significant milestone.

“We are hoping to get some past members back and we have a few events going on throughout the year. We want to recognise the work done by older members as well.

“We still have two members that sang in the very first concert that are still singing with us in the choir. It is amazing.”

The choral union boasts members from 18 to 80 years of age, with very strong family traditions running through out.

Mary Coll and Fiona Linnane, who wrote the lyrics and music to the specially composed piece for the April concert, both have relatives who were founding members of the choir.

“We are very proud of it and were happy to do it and it is great fun,” explained Mary, a member of the choral union for more than six years, who wrote lyrics for the piece, while Fiona compose the music. The duo have worked together successfully on a number of occasions.

“Most of the choir are Limerick and are very proud of the choir and the singing tradition, and I wanted something that we could sing out with pride about Limerick. We didn’t want a ballad, a sentimental piece, but something that caught a little of the sound, the smell, the taste, the spirit of a place.

“In a sense I was trying to capture the Limerick I know, of cathedral bells, bridges, the falls, factories, people coming and going - the city I remember as a child was almost teeming with people.

“We tried to catch a bit of the rugby and all in it, that sense of Limerick people, it is a little bit like Munster, that thing of digging deep, shoving the ball up your jersey and driving forward in the face of adversity.”

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