Sunday April 6th 2014: Acclaimed U.S Choral Conductor Dr. Doreen Rao led 400 children and young children from across Ireland in the inaugural Big Sing held on Sunday April 6th in the Mansion House, Dublin. Over 52 young people from Wicklow took part in the event, organised by Music Generation – the U2 and Ireland Funds’ supported national music education programme. This was the first time that Music Generation participants from across Ireland performed together on a national stage and marks the culmination of the Choral Music Education Programme, run in association with Association of Irish Choirs and the Choral Music Experience Institute.
Dr. Doreen Rao is the Director of the US Institute for Choral Teacher Education and is credited with revolutionising the landscape in conducting and music education in North America. Her interactive conducting and music education methods are inspired by diversity, a healing practice rooted in ancient cultures and a mindfulness practice. In advance of today’s event Dr. Rao has been travelling across Ireland delivering choral workshops to Music Generation students. This included a visit to St Mary’s National School, Coolfancy, Tinahely on the 2nd of April.
Speaking at the event Dr. Rao said “Today, being surrounded by all these wonderful young people who have put so much energy and enthusiasm into the songs they sing, has been a truly inspirational experience. The sense of happiness and joy in this room is tangible and I was truly honoured to lead today’s performance.
“For the past week I have had the opportunity to travel right across the country and work really closely with Music Generation, the students and the tutors delivering choral workshops. Through this I have seen how Music Generation is empowering children and young people to celebrate music and their own talent. I also wish to commend all the partner groups who have helped bring the event together – with so much commitment and energy shown one has to think that the future looks bright for choral music education in Ireland”
The hugely successful and innovative Choral Music Education Programme that has been running since September, has brought together some forty choral conductors, choir leaders and music teachers to study with Dr. Rao and an expert faculty and is supporting singing and choral projects throughout the country. Music Generation National Director Rosaleen Molloy said “The Big Sing is the very first time that we have been able to bring so many young people involved in Music Generation together to perform and we are very lucky to have had Dr. Doreen Rao here lead us on this momentous occasion. Her methodology has inspired much of the Music Generation ethos, she is an exceptional choral conductor and an inspirational music educator whose approach has transformed music education in North America.
“The Big Sing was a truly once in a lifetime opportunity and I have to thank the hard work that our 400 choristers put in in advance and the energy they brought to their performance today. It is an incredibly proud moment for us all!”