Ireland’s first homeless choir — the High Hopes Choir — is to take centre stage as it headlines the Sligo International Choral Festival.Some 80 homeless people from the three High Hopes choirs, based in Dublin, Cork and Waterford, will travel to Sligo for the event.
“We are delighted to announce, on World Homeless Day, that the High Hopes Choir will join us at the Sligo International Choral Festival for their first ever performance in Sligo,” says Sean Larkin, Festival Chairman.
The Sligo Choral Festival Committee are working to provide accommodation for the High Hopes choirs and are asking members of the public to help with the costs through donations.
“We look forward to the 80-strong choir joining us and we will be providing accommodation for them. We are looking for donations in order to help us fund the visit from this inspirational choir and are asking members of the public to help.”Civic Reception
The High Hopes Gala Concert will take place at 8pm on Friday, November 11 at the Knocknarea Arena at IT Sligo and will mark the start of the three-day international choral festival. A civic reception to welcome the choir to Sligo is also being planned.The festival, which runs from November 11 – 13, includes competitive and non-competitive singing across a wide range of styles, ages and ensembles —from school choirs and jazz orchestras to gospel and barbershop choirs.
Some 58 entries from Irish and international choirs have been received for the competitions, which run across two days of the festival. But the singing will also spill out onto the street with pop-up performances springing up around Sligo town throughout the festival.
The High Hopes Choir is Ireland’s first choir to be made up of people directly affected by homelessness. Founded by David Brophy, former principal conductor of RTÉ Concert Orchestra, the choir aims to help change the public perception of what it means to be homeless in Ireland today.
Its members volunteer their time to raise funds to help the services and facilities, which play a vital part in ending the cycle of homelessness.
High Hopes has three regional choirs, in Dublin, Waterford and Cork. Each choir has a musical director, and a co-ordinator from one of the charities it works with.Loneliness
“The High Hopes Choir has truly touched hearts. Music has the power to give a voice to the voiceless. Every song tells a story and every single member of the High Hopes Choir has a story to tell — a story that may contain unfathomable loneliness but it also contains courage and faith and strength and honour. It’s also a story that conveys remarkable hope,” says Glenn Alexander, who is the overall co-ordinator for the High Hopes choir.
In December 2014, the choir was the subject of a three-part documentary called High Hopes, which aired on RTÉ. It recorded a version of Kodaline’s High Hopes with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, which it then performed live on the Late Late Show, and reached Number One in the charts.Over the last two years, the choir has performed for the President at Aras an Uachtaráin, at a charity gala concert in Christchurch Cathedral, twice at Electric Picnic and at the Aviva Stadium for the Ireland versus Italy Six Nations match in March this year.
Tickets to the Gala Concert, on Friday, November 11 gp on sale today at www.sligochoralfest.com
and will be available from tourist offices nationwide and in Liber bookshop in Sligo town from Friday, October 14.
Sponsors of the festival include Sligo County Council, Wild Atlantic Way/Failte Ireland, the Western Development Commission (WDC), IT Sligo and Tourism Ireland.