Making music accessible to all

Down Syndrome Cork will benefit from the latest in a series of concerts running at Holy Trinity Church, Crosshaven. IRENE HALPIN LONG chats to Dr Eva McMullen to find out more
Making music accessible to all
John Spillane with Crosshaven Community Choir. Picture: Ted Murphy.

WE’RE creating memories that will resonate with the children for the rest of their lives.

So says Dr Eva McMullen, speaking about a series of concerts running at Holy Trinity Church, Crosshaven.

Another spectacular night of music and celebration awaits at the venue on May 25. The children from Music4Children Chorus, members of the Crosshaven Community Choir and professional musician, Freddie White, will perform at the church, all in aid of Down Syndrome Cork.

This concert is the fourth in a series of charitable concerts that have been organised by Dr McMullen, in collaboration with Reverend Isobel Jackson and members of the parish.

Reverend Jackson facilitates the concerts and offers the audience a warm welcome at each event. Pádraig Wallace, co-director of Music4Children acts as accompanist and Sonya Keogh conducts and directs the Music4Children Chorus.

Eva is also co-director of Music4Children and conductor of Crosshaven Community Choir.

Eva and Pádraig Wallace established Music4Children in 2011 in an attempt to “make music accessible to people in Crosshaven”. The group started with 23 children in 2011 and has grown to more than 300 children. They also teach adults.

The concert series started in June, 2018. Traditional Irish singer, Iarla Ó Lionáird was the special guest musician at the first concert. The Christmas concert featured soprano, Cara O’ Sullivan.

In March this year, an evening of story and song was held where writer and playwright, Cónal Creedon, shared some of his literature with the audience. Singer-songwriter John Spillane also performed on the night.

Eva says: “These gigs are lovely occasions. The purpose is to raise funds for various charities while providing good quality music to our audiences.”

The children from Music4children who partake in these concerts gain valuable experience from performing alongside established musicians and artists.

Eva says: “To get to perform with people like John Spillane are memories that will resonate with the children for the rest of their lives. They will always be able to say that they sang with Cara O’Sullivan.

Cónal Creedon brought another element in the last concert when he read to the audience.

“Because these concerts are put together in a professional way, the children see first-hand the work that goes into organising a concert performance.”

The concert on May 25 which will feature singer-songwriter, Freddie White will raise funds for Down Syndrome Cork. Some of the children from Down Syndrome, Cork will collaborate musically with the students from Music4Children. The children will showcase a range of music from their ever-increasing repertoires.

“It will be an eclectic mix of music. For the May concert, the Music4Children Chorus will be performing with the Crosshaven Community Choir. They will be performing I’m Still Standing by Elton John. They will be performing What A Wonderful World with the children from Down Syndrome Cork.

“We’ll also have visuals to accompany the children as they sing. All the children will do some artwork of “trees of green”, like the lyrics from the song, and this will be displayed as they sing together.”

Down Syndrome Cork is the chosen supported charity for the concert in May because it is close to Eva’s heart. She is involved in a research project with Down Syndrome Cork called MIND — Music as an Intervention in the Neurological Development of children with Down Syndrome.

She says: “I see the amazing work that the people at Down Syndrome Cork do. Their work is so important and that is why we selected to support this charity at the May concert.”

Singer John Spillane said that the concert he was part of back in March was “a joy from start to finish”.

He added: “Eva McMullen has galvanised a good portion of the local population into a dynamic community choir. They sang with gusto, joy and a sense of release. They lifted my Life in an Irish Town up to a higher level and my Dance of the Cherry Trees was full of enthusiasm and celebration.”

Holy Trinity Church is a special venue and sacred space in which to hold these musical events.

Critically acclaimed novelist, playwright and documentary maker, Cónal Creedon, said: “The elegance of Holy Trinity Church is not measured in towering belfries or neo-gothic spires reaching to the heavens. For me, the nobility of Holy Trinity is found in its discrete scale, beautifully appointed attention to detail and how it fits neatly and naturally into the landscape —perched comfortably on the hillside overlooking the historic maritime town of Crosshaven.”

Tickets can be bought from Centra in Crosshaven and cost €20.

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