The Lourdes Youth Choir welcomed Canon Eugene, family and friends to their first awards night since 2019 on Tuesday June 28th.
During COVID, the choir embarked into the world of technology and began weekly Zoom sessions. Unfortunately, Zoom and choirs are not very compatible and while it kept the girls in touch with each other and it helped to iron out some small imperfections, it did not replace the face to face sessions. This did not suit every member and unfortunately half of the choir left.
“The choir finished in March 2020 with 29 youth members and returned in May 2022 with 15. We tried recruiting and managed to gain seven new members. With half the original choir and seven new members with limited experience, the choir leaders were apprehensive and worried about the full choir returning last May for mass,” explains Choir Director Jackie Walshe. “However, this group of young ladies have been an inspiration over the past few months with their dedication and determination to bring the Lourdes Youth Choir back to its pre-COVID standard. They have not only achieved this they have also raised the level”.
Youth member Doireann McCluskey spoke about Zoom from a members’ view point and Jackie thanked those who gave up their time during COVID to sing at mass.
“We had an excellent rota going, and averaged four to six singers per week,” she explains. “Thanks and appreciation go to Fellow Leaders Catherine Conlon, Maria Durnin, Serena Matthews and Ruby Matthews, Committee members Catherina McNicholas and Aine Rock, Past members Lynsey Reilly, Katie Goldsmith and Nikola Busa, and Current youth members Aishling King, Ava Hoey, Orla McDermott, Poppy Cutou and Doireann McCluskey”.
The first performance of the evening was “Be Thou My Vision” an acapella piece sung by representatives of the “COVID Mass” group. The choir learnt this piece for a St. Patrick’s Day concert streamed from the Cathedral in Armagh in 2016. On the night is was sung by Altos: Ruby and Doireann and Soprano’s: Catherine, Serena, Aishling, Ava and Orla.
Following that the choir sang “Though We are Many”.
“We learnt this ten years ago for the closing ceremony of the Eucharist Congress and the “then” choir fell in love with it and it has only taken me ten years to get around to finding the music and organising a backing track,” explains Jackie. “This was the time for members of the junior section to shine. The first verse was sung by Eimear McDermott and Elsie Walshe, second verse Pearl Ogbanga and Emily Dyas and the third verse by Caoimhe Kirwan and Aleksandra Bruno”.
Soloist Orla McDermott lifted the roof with the choir backing her in “As you go”. The penultimate piece on the night was “Stand by me” and following the presentation of awards the choir closed the event with “By Faith”.
New members are very welcome, they can contact Jackie on 086 3697983
Zoom attendance Award
Junior – Eimear McDermott, Pearl Ogbanga and Katie Dyas
Senior - Sophie Everitt
Best Mass Attendance - Junior Choir: Cristina Gomes and Pearl Ogbanga
Best Mass Attendance - Senior Choir: Sharon Ogbanga
Best Practice Attendance - Junior Choir: Cristina Gomes
Best Practice Attendance - Senior Choir: Sophie Everitt and Emily Duggan
Five year’ service award: Sophie Everitt, Emily Duggan and Lily Kiernan
Fifteen Year Service Award: Maria Durnin
Twenty Year Service Award: Catherine Conlon
Fr Martin Award
Fr. Martin award winner - Doireann McCluskey