Dublin’s Earlsfort Terrace was alive with song on Sunday, 27th September 2015, as the National Concert Hall hosted the Workplace Choir of the Year Competition Final. Eight choirs from Cork, Galway and Dublin competed for this prestigious title in a fabulous display of choral variety and quality. The evening ended on a very high note with the choir of the Marine Institute in Galway awarded the title of ‘Workplace Choir of the Year 2015’.
The ‘Marine Institute Singers’ were established in 2013, under the baton of Carmel Dooley and have performed at numerous concerts, competitions and charitable events. Their powerful and moving performance of ‘Kiitkem Südamest Mariat’ (an Estonian song by Urmas Sisask) and Billy Joel’s ‘Lullabye’ at the National Concert Hall left the adjudicators in no doubt that the Workplace Choir of the Year trophy should head to the West of Ireland.
The Runner-Up prize was awarded to Cork University Maternity Hospital, who had achieved the same accolade in 2013. With their conductor, Padraig Wallace, and accompanist, Ronan Holihan, the aptly-named ‘Ultrasounds’ impressed the adjudicators with their performance of ‘Lullaby’ (Groban, Mattews & Van Der Sagg) and ‘Save The World / Don’t You Worry Child’.
Dr. Ryan Molloy, chairperson of the adjudicators’ panel which also included Ms. Gail Henry and Ms. Lesley Bishop, praised the work and commitment of the choirs and recognised the importance of the Workplace Choir of the Year initiative.
The Marine Institute Singers returned to the stage at the end of the evening for another moving performance, earning a standing ovation from the audience, from the adjudicators and from the other seven finalists. Celebrations took place in Alfie Byrne’s at the Conrad Hotel, before the choir headed home to Galway, taking with them the Workplace Choir of the Year 2015 trophy and title – the fruits of their hard work and dedication.
Speaking after the event, Peter Staunton of HM1 Arts remarked on the exceptionally high standard displayed by the competitors, “We set out to establish choirs in workplaces so that people could experience the joy and the benefits of choral singing. These choirs have achieved a standard above and beyond anything we could have anticipated. Two years ago, none of these choirs existed. Now, they are some of the finest amateur choirs in the country, and we at HM1 Arts are immensely proud to have played a small part in that.”.
During the event, Peter launched a new online facility for workplaces to register their interest in the competition by visiting www.workplacechoir.com. He also announced an initiative whereby application fees will be waived for registered charities who wish to participate in the competition in 2017. “We want to spread the message that choral singing is accessible to everybody, and we want to get as many workplaces as possible involved”, he said.
‘Workplace Choir of the Year in association with RTÉ lyric fm’ is operated by HM1 Arts – an Irish company dedicated to establishing arts programmes in workplaces, schools, universities and other organisations in Ireland.