From the day our choir director (the one and only lion-hearted Maria Stanley) announced that we would be appearing in 'The Events', we hurled ourselves into the unknown with excitement and trepidation. We dizzied ourselves learning 'Bonkers', haunted ourselves with 'Soul', revealed our inner thugs with 'Gavrilo Princip' ('You need to look a bit meaner there. The altos are making a good job of it'). A choir member chortled: "I never realised when I joined this choir that I would end up imitating a distorted electric guitar…'
Super Monday (a mass choir rehearsal done once per week for the show) saw us filling the Peacock Theatre with other local choirs. The energy of Associate Director Polina Kalinina was infectious and full of humour, the quiet musical direction of Magnus Gilljam inspirational. We sang, donned 'smiley foreheads' and shivered as the voices of our descants, Terri Wynne and Cathy McKervey, soared to fill the theatre. They were met with spontaneous applause. Our excitement mounted…
Performance night ('Outside it's dark, outside it's raining but in here it is warm') and the dawning that there were individual spoken lines to be performed. Personalities emerged! The brave and the bold, the shy and retiring, the nonplussed, the muddled, the befuddled… A quick sound check and then backstage to wait.
And the performance….our entry onstage chatting informally (ha!) dazzled by the heat and the lights, the rousing 'Norwegian Coffee Song' and then Neve McIntosh and Rudi Dharmalingam filling the space with such vigour and passion that at times we were so absorbed in the play that our cues came as a shock…..They were so close to us, involving us in their energy, turning to include us in their conversations, surprising us with the unexpected (and boy, was some of it unexpected!) We lived their performance. We became Claire's choir and as we moved forward on stage to sing our last song, some of our choir members were moved to tears.
And it finished in O'Reillys pub in Rathmines, where we mingled enthusiastically with the cast. They shared their lives, their expertise and their humour with us. They treated us like superstars. When they ask us to go on tour, we will definitely respond: 'Ja takk'!
It was a unique and privileged experience, a journey that brought laughter and unity to our choir, revealing the depths and breadth of our bright eyed and bushy tailed troupe.
St Mary's College Singers