Choir of angels: Practice makes perfect for Limerick choir's big Papal gig

Maria Flannery

Reporter:

Maria Flannery

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maria.flannery@limerickleader.ie

It’s an “incredible honour”, says Coláiste na Trócaire music teacher Jean O’Brien, pictured here with the choir during a rehearsal

It’s an “incredible honour”, says Coláiste na Trócaire music teacher Jean O’Brien, pictured here with the choir during a rehearsal

THEY have heavenly voices, and they are about to sing for the man who leads a church of a billion people.

And there’s no doubt that the angelic singers from Rathkeale’s Coláiste na Trócaire will wow Pope Francis when they get in front of the microphone this August.

It’s certainly a “huge honour” to sing for the pope, says music teacher Jean O’Brien, who is heading up the choir of around 35 people, which includes students, past-pupils, parents and teachers.

“We are practising now and it’s full steam ahead. We are going up to Dublin this weekend to the RDS for a big rehearsal with the other strands of the choir, and we will know where we are going to be placed and more details after that. It’s such an incredible honour,” said Ms O’Brien.

It all began when they sang at the World Meeting of Families event in Mary Immaculate College this April. They progressed and were ultimately successful in joining the larger youth choir, which will sing during the papal Mass in Phoenix Park on August 26.

One of the choir members is even cutting her holidays short to return home for the papal performance.

“Everyone is coming in their own free time to practise, and the students while they are on their summer holidays. People are making sacrifices and are really doing their best,” said Ms O’Brien.

“We will be representing Rathkeale, the school will be represented, and the kids are excited. They are looking forward to it, it’s a huge honour.”

The papal Mass will be televised, broadcast around the world, and watched by millions.

Jean and the school chaplain, Olivia Giltenane, have been working with the choir since they received the good news this summer.

Because it is the summer holidays and the school itself is closed, the choir has had to be resourceful to pull off the logistics. It’s a real “community effort”, said Ms O’Brien.

She thanked the Rathkeale Arts Group for the use of their space to practise, and the Limerick and Clare Education and Training Board for their help with printing and administration.