DEDICATED singers got up at an ungodly hour recently to sing with the birds and watch the dawn break over the River Barrow. The singers gathered by the riverbank at the Town Park recently to herald the dawning of the day in celebration of the Bealtaine festival.
Bealtaine is a month-long series of events that celebrates the older people of our community and, as Aspiro has members aged from four to 84, they were deemed the perfect fit after the festival organisers put out a call. They were chosen to perform at the flagship Dawn and dusk chorus events, which bookmark the beginning and end of the festival.
“The fact that we’re an inter-generational choir made us strong contenders to be chosen as the flagship choir,” director Mary Amond O’Brien told The Nationalist. “The singers supported each other and we picked songs that were popular and well-known, like Abba’s Thank you for the music and, of course, a few choruses of Morning has broken.”
The event attracted an audience of about 100 people, who had the pleasure of witnessing the sun rise over Carlow town. “The sun actually rose when we had gathered and were singing, so it was well-timed,” Mary smiled.
The event was supported by Carlow Arts Festival and Big Hello national community day. Now that they’ve done the dawning of Bealtaine, the choir will next perform at night to mark the closing of the festival. That concert will take place in Temple Bar, Dublin on 26 May and further details are available from the Bealtaine website.
Anyone who loves the great outdoors can also enjoy the many free events that are organised by the Bealtaine Living Earth Festival, which runs until 26 May across the southeast.
Dr Cordula Weiss from Waterford IT’s science, technology and engineering centre, is one of the main organisers of the 50-plus events. “This is a fantastic festival with something for absolutely everyone. We’re delighted to have free events at Altamont Gardens and Oak Park. While events are free, prebooking is required for some and, as places are limited, we want people to log on to Facebook now and have a look at the entire programme on www.livingearth.ie,” Dr Weiss advised.
Free events include Breathtaking biodiversity with Paul Cutler, the head gardener at Altamont Gardens on 18 May from 10.30am to noon. On 21 May, Oak Park is the setting for Dusk chorus – the songs of nightfall. From 7-9pm, participants are invited to listen to the wonderful songs of birds at nightfall at Oak Park. Eric Dempsey, bird expert and author from Birds Ireland, will lead the group. It’s a free event, but places are limited and booking is required to avoid disappointment.
See www.bealtaine.ie for a full list of events.