Róisín Freeney and the 45 members of Dunshaughlin Choral Society, an amateur community choir where all are welcome, play a central role in village life. They have composed and recorded an original collaborative piece to reflect the loss of members and loved ones in their village.
As an amateur, community choir they have felt the loss of members and loved ones throughout this sad year. Not being able to use their singing voices to help them grieve as they normally would, they seized the opportunity to work with us and applied for a seed grant, to see if they could find a way to heal from their bereavement and sense of isolation collectively. They collaborativley wrote a song over email and zoom, inspired by recent events and reflecting on the experience of rehearsing on zoom rather than in person. They called the piece ‘Absent Voices’ as a reference to the impact a loss of even one voice can have on a choral group.
It is an orginal creation specifically for these times and this situation. A choral group is an organic, ever changing thing. They not only feel the loss of a member but they hear it too. They would normally come together to sing and remember those who have gone; this song is their attempt to do that.
It was written together. Members emailed their reflections and thoughts on recent losses and the pandemic. Roisin and Suzanne Keegan pulled them together in to a song which was then arranged for four parts by their accompanest Ciara Vaughan. They learnt and rehearsed it over zoom under the direction of new conductor, Ciara MeEvoy. It was recorded individually and put together by Shane Barriscale of SMB Multimedia. Though Roisin had been involved in songwriting in the distant past, she had never really done anything like this before. The choral society did not know, even as they were recording, what the song should sound like as they had never heard each other sing it. The recording was for all of them a terrifying and exciting experience.
They are so pleased with the final result. They hope it brings some comfort to those who find themselves bereaved and silenced by this awful epidemic.