There was a standing ovation for one of the biggest choral ensembles ever seen on stage in Donegal at the finale of the Donegal ETB ‘One Voice’ concert in An Grianan Theatre in Letterkenny on Tuesday night,
A special set of ‘risers’ was hired in from a specialist firm in Dungannon to help the theatre stage accommodate around 200 singers in the Donegal ETB students’ choir and another 50 in the staff choir. And at the end the audience added more than 300 singers to the mix as they joined in a spirited rendering of ‘Wade in the Water’ under the direction of well-known choral conductor Margaret McAteer.
It was Margaret, a music teacher at Errigal College in Letterkenny, who had the idea before Christmas of a project bringing together young singers and music teachers from across the 15 post-primary schools which are part of the Donegal Education and Training Board. Also involved in the project were Dr Martin Gormley, Donegal ETB Director of Schools, who acted as MC on the concert; Claire Houston of Donegal ETB head office staff at Ard O’Donnell in Letterkenny; and Martin McGinley of the Donegal Music Education Partnership.
Margaret McAteer was the main conductor of the 200-strong students’ choir, drawn from ETB schools across the county. Eileen Carr from Abbey Vocational School conducted the staff choir.
Opening the show were Crana College dance and drama group, directed by music teacher and performer Laura Keogh. The group won an All-Ireland competition in Mullingar recently. They have just received news that they’ll be performing at the Bord Gáis Energy Student Theatre Awards in Dublin in May.
Other guest performers were the outstanding pianist Maciej Ferlewicz from the Abbey Vocational School; a dance trio from Errigal College featuring teacher Catriona Hasson, Jason McLaughlin and Cailin Macey; and Gael Linn Scléip competition winner Rory McLaughlin from Coláiste Ailigh.
The chief executive of Donegal ETB, Anne McHugh, said was a wonderful night for the ETB and a powerful illustration of the work the organisation is doing right across the county.