SCHOOLS and youth clubs from around the country hit the high notes yesterday as the curtain was raised on one of the most eagerly-awaited competitions in this year's Electric Ireland Feis Ceoil -- the children's choir event.
The rehearsal room at the RDS in Dublin resounded to a cacophony of scales as choirs warmed up their vocal cords in preparation for their turn in the spotlight.
There was much grimacing as facial muscles were drilled into their expansive best before it was time to undergo a last-minute uniform inspection and then climb the stage with some trepidation.
However, one set of Von Trapps were taking it all in their stride. After all, the Maguire family from Truagh, Co Monaghan, have their fellow siblings to help settle any nerves.
The foursome -- Conor (10), Cian (9), Oran (8) and Aoife (7) -- are all members of Truagh Youth Choir and squeeze in extra practice sessions when they can.
"We sometimes sing in the car. We all play the piano and the tin whistle," Conor said, showing there was no end to their musical talents.
The choir was set up by music teacher Emily McMeel in 2000 and its 34 members, aged from seven to 14, have already tasted success at last year's Community Games' choir event and have an appetite for more. "It's a great day out for the kids. There aren't many competitions for young kids so it's great to have something like this," said Ms McMeel.
The choir was a resounding hit, winning the junior choirs unison competition.
Also on winning form was the chamber choir from Wesley College, Dublin, which won the post-primary mixed voice choirs section.