Category: Uncategorized

Dare To Sing Choral Festival – the What & Who!

 

Hey folks.  The countdown is on and there really is something for everyone.  Here is a quick snippet of the workshops and a bit about our facilitators.  More info to follow folks!

Craig Lees

Craig is a contemporary vocal coach, choral leader and arranger from Leeds in the UK.  His workshops guarantee to leave you with new knowledge, understanding and connection to singing.  Craig is at the forefront of teaching, arranging and contemporary singing styles and we are delighted to have him in Ireland.

Gemma Sugrue

We met Gemma at Gospel Rising and everyone who attended her class benefited so much from it.  Gemma is a professional singer and coach and has lots to share with us about healthy singing, modern styles and advanced solo singing.  She has a wealth of experience in this field and we are so excited to learn from her.

Brian (Rags) Ferguson 

Brian had a fantastic impact on everyone who attended his drum sessions at Gospel Rising.  Believe us when we say this has something for everyone – we really recommend you trying this out.  Brian has developed 3 bespoke workshops for our festival and is very excited to share this with you.

Claire Crehan

Claire has designed this workshop to explore the realm of sound and resonance in the body – how do we connect with our authentic voice, and use sound and singing as meditative musical exploration.  This small group workshop is highly recommended for those wishing to experience deeper connection to their unique sound.

Eimear Crehan 

This is a beginner Soloist Workshop and and combines life coaching skills and personal support to enable you find the first steps to singing solo and working with your authentic voice.  Eimear loves working with new singers and can help you unlock your thinking and develop your relationship with your voice.

Siobhan Mulligan

Siobhan is a local teacher and runs the Edge Dance Academy.  Having seen Siobhan’s work with all ages and stages of dance, we are sure that she will bring fun, learning and coordination to all willing to give it a go.  Bringing styles from around the world, this is sure to be an energising workshop where people learn new skills!

Ruari Ó Coilleáin

Sound therapist Ruari will take us on a journey of sound and meditation in this workshop, allowing us to experience sound and vibration in a new way.  Using gongs and instruments from around the world, participants can relax and enjoy this therapy and experience something new.  Ruari will be accompanied by a second gong therapist, Colourful Simone, and this promises to be a wonderful rejuvenating session.

Next steps…

If you’re not already booked in, cancel whatever you’re doing, call Karen on 086 1765211 / speakupsingout@yahoo.com, and get booking!  It’s gonna be wild.

Dare to Sing – SuSo Choral Festival

Well it’s finally happened … what started off as a small idea casually dropped into conversation has come to fruition and our very first SUSO Choral Festival has been launched today.  The response to the launch was unprecedented with our first workshop booking within literally two minutes!

From Humble Beginnings

When we tossed the idea around to friends and choir members nearly two months ago the overwhelming answer was yes and that they would all fully support it, and with this behind us, we decided to go for it and booked Craig Lees (Leeds University etc) and Gemma Sugrue (etc) along with our own local facilitators for the weekend. After weeks of careful planning and community support we now have the complete package.

What Can You Expect

The aim of the Festival is to bring together the community and outside choirs and those ‘dipping their toes in for maybe the first time’, in a day to remember of song, music, relaxation and fun.  We would love to see as diverse a group as possible attending to make the most of what we have created.

On Saturday afternoon we have a free (yes free!) lunchtime concert and another free (Free Again!) concert in the GAA to which the whole community is invited (not just those who took part in workshops).  This  will include performances from the choirs who participated on the day followed by a DJ and dancing till late, a reward for all the hard work during the day!

It’s a Whole Community Affair

A huge thanks to the local schools and scouts hall for helping us facilitate the workshops.  This is truly a wonderful event for the whole community, benefiting local businesses and spreading some singing joy throughout the town.  We also have to acknowledge the wonderful organisers of Gospel Rising for their inspiration, and the outstanding service they provide to Ireland’s choral community.

When and Where…

The Choral Festival will take place in Kilcock on Saturday 20th October 2018 from 9am to late.

What do you Need to Do

If you are already in a SuSo choir, then you just need to respond to our messages!  If you are someone who is interested in ‘dipping the toe in’, please contact Karen on 086 1765211 / speakupsingout@yahoo.com for more info and to book your place.

We will keep you all updated as the countdown continues ….

Sure it will all be grand ! …..

Claire, Eimear & Karen

Disclaimer:  SuSo Creative Limited will not be held responsible for spontaneous singing in the street, sudden outbursts of musical joy in public places or fellow choristers randomly harmonising with strangers.

A River Flows Between Our Hearts – Mary Coughlan Sings with SuSo

 

Last Friday 27 April, Mary Coughlan shared a night of song with the SuSo Gospel Choir in the church in Kilcock.  And what a night it was.  For once, I got to sit in the front row and listen.  I got to sit, receive, watch, feel, and witness.  It was very special.

The Spark of an Idea

A few months ago, Eimear contacted Mary Coughlan to invite her to do a concert in Kilcock with the gospel choir, and she agreed.  Eimear chose the songs that the choir would join Mary on, and I began arranging the music, and rehearsals got underway.  My piano teaching coincides with gospel rehearsals so last night was the first time I had heard them sing in quite a while.  And what a glorious treat it was.

Strong Hearts, Connected Souls

SuSo Gospel Choir in full swing

From the opening song, the gospel choir lifted the roof.  From the soulful singing in the aisles for the opening number, to body percussion, choreography, and an amazing set list ranging from traditional gospel to Leonard Cohen to Queen, it was clear that the gospel choir had taken things to a new level.  This was an awesome performance.

As the years go by, and each and every person commits to growing and to nurturing their musical selves, an amazing connection has been created within the choir that is vibrant and present and almost tangible..  Voices are shared in beautiful harmony, and as different people step forward to brave the wilderness of solo singing, the holding from the rest of the choir is so beautiful.  Each voice is valued.

Presence in Song

Voice of Soul

And then it was Mary’s turn.  I could listen to her sing on one note for a whole night. The first time I heard her music was when I was doing the choral arrangements but that was no preparation for her presence.  Authentic.  Alive. Honest.  Powerful.  Real.   Present.  The music flowed from her with such ease and power.  It was the voice of her soul.  No fuss, no trying, just presence.  She awoke something powerful in every person there I’m sure.  I watched her from the front row singing with the stained glass window lit behind her, the candle above the altar glowing and my heart was in stillness.

Sharing

Union of Voices

Towards the end of the night, the gospel choir came back to sing with Mary.

There is something really magical about hearing an arrangement that I have written sung by others.  I hear it in my head, and I notate it, and Eimear brings it to the choir and works away on it.  Lastnight I got to hear it without having to play the piano, enjoying the wonderful piano and double bass of Johnny & Barry.  And Mary got to hear her music strengthened by a 75 voice choir!  It was fabulous!

Everyone has worked so hard, led by the relentless commitment of Eimear to really go for it, to rise to the challenge and to create nights of beauty that change the resonance of the community and the world.

Completion  –  A Circle of Light

Creating Connection

Mary spoke of being a teenager and mitching off school with her friends – if it was cold they would go around the churches of Galway and light all the candles and keep warm.  She joked that they never paid for the candles.  Well last Friday night, her voice warmed the hearts of everyone within the walls of Kilcock church, filling us with light and love.  As all of our souls met in that sacred space, we were changed for the better.  For me that is a candle debt repaid a thousand times over.

 

So, a huge thank you to Mary Coughlan and her musicians Johnny Taylor on piano and Barry Donahue on double bass.  I’d like to also acknowledge Eimear’s incredible vision and commitment to the whole community, and to everyone who works behind the scenes to help these events flow with ease and grace.  And thanks to Jamie Crehan & Tadhg Crehan Reilly for the wonderful photos.  It’s truly a community affair.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”

Written by Claire Crehan 

This is one of my favourite songs of all time . With SUSO choir last night !Thank you everyone ❤️

Posted by Mary Coughlan on Saturday, April 28, 2018

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All Star All Star – Community Recognition

Every Voice Matters

On Thursday 29 March, I got the message to say ‘Congratulations, you’ve made it to the finals, you’re an All Star!’  My heart was buzzing, and the smile stayed on my face for the rest of the day.  And I began thinking about what was it that made me smile – pride, recognition, acknowledgement, happiness, achievement, everything bundled into one big grin.

So what are the All Stars?

The Business All Stars are an accreditation for excellence in business, and each year there is a competition divided into many different categories, culminating in an award ceremony at the All Ireland Business Summit.  We looked at all the categories, and decided to apply for the Community Focused Business of the Year.

The application form was lengthy and really challenged us to think about our business objectively, our strengths, our challenges, our achievements, and the ways in which we would like to grow.  As we moved through the process, it was wonderful to really think about what we offer, and what we receive from the community through our offerings.

The second stage of the process involved a phone interview with judge Kieran Ring of the Global Institute of Logistics.  Where I was expecting a conversation around our financial planning going forward, and the nuts of bolts of organisational life, I was instead met with an open and challenging conversation on acknowledging the work we have done to date and how we might share that with a wider community – why shouldn’t every town in Ireland have a SuSo!

On our second call with Kieran Ring, we were informed that we fell into the category of Social Entrepreneurship and that we should be acknowledged for that without competition – instead we were invited to stand with other Social Entrepreneurs and be given our newly titled accreditation of All Star in Social Entrepreneurship, specialising in Community Creativity.

And it’s the Community that makes it all work

So for us, we really want you, as a member of the SuSo Community to stand with us and receive this accreditation, and to reflect upon what you bring to the table.  We want you to be proud of your contribution to this process and to this transformation within the community – without your presence and your gifts, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

So congratulations on being an All Star Community!  We will wear this badge proudly and continue to grow and expand in new and exciting ways.  Next Thursday 19 April, we will be at the All Ireland Business Summit where we will receive our accreditation, and we look forward to celebrating with you all upon our return.

“SpeakUp SingOut – where every voice matters”

Looking Back In Awe – 2017 in Review!

In the midst of all the festivities, I am reflecting upon the year gone by.  I awoke this morning with the words “community of SuSo” running around my head, and felt that it was a great way to describe what we are all creating together in Kilcock – building and strengthening our SuSo Community!

So here are a few memories for you all for sentimental reminiscence!

January

They love the bus!

Wild fun

And bend.. and stretch!

                    

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • We start back on our 2 year anniversary, buzzing back with New Year energy!  Now we are approaching our 3 year anniversary and it’s amazing how quick time flies by!
  • We begin our SuSo Homeschool Choir, which ran until the end of June, culminating in a performance of their original drama in June.
  • Our Youth Choirs go on a social night, developing their singing over a game of bowling,
  • Our Community & Gospel Choirs do a spot of choreography with the wild and wonderful Mary Duffin.

February

  • There is Only Love.  Eimear and I get to work on a project very dear to our hearts, a night of original music by our dear friend Samuel Gaines.  This was a night of love, joy and pure creation.
  • The lovely Lea Miklody comes and serenades us to the sounds of the cello in her bespoke Comfy Concert.

    Work is hard sometimes!

  • February sees another in the series of Singer Not Beginner Showcases in Gregorys, always a wonderful night of community supporting community to be wild and brave and free.
  • Claire travels to Australia with the World of Musicals show – life can be tough sometimes!

March

  • Ruari begins offering Sound Baths in the music school as part of our wellness program.  These are run throughout the year in line with the sacred festivals of Ireland.
  • Eimear records an album in St Kevin’s with the transition year program she has been working with.

PhD prep!

  • Eimear heads off to London to attend the ISM Conference, deepening her understanding of performance anxiety in music.  We all accept that we will be the focus of her PhD research some day!

 

April

 

Train Concert

Taize Mass

Our Creative Crowd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • Our Youth Choir go on their first big road trip, down to work with Phil Brennan, musical director of the High Hopes Choir in Waterford.   We also experience a Taize Mass whilst in Waterford, giving us all a new way of experiencing music as a meditation.  You can read Claire’s blog on the trip away.

 

May

  • We head off to participate in the Navan Choral Festival, with our youth, gospel and community choirs, getting to hear other choirs do their thing, inspiring others and being inspired.
  • Following on from our experience at the Taize mass, we do our first Singing for Peace concert in the Little Chapel with our youth choir.  This was a wonderful evening as the teenagers shared their experience of peace from the Taize mass with the local community.
  • Claire launches Music Medicine Level 2allowing the participants who had completed level 1 to deepen their experience of the power of sound.
  • Half of Kilcock heads off to the Gospel Rising Festival for another year of choral madness!

June

                      

June becomes Concert Month! 

  • Our Community Choir do their annual concert Voices in Song, supported by our wonderful emerging Focus Choir
  • The Gospel Choir do their Big Gig, supported by Firefly who performed a breathtaking set.
  • Our young piano, guitar & vocal students do their Summer Showcase which was so big we had to rent a bigger space!  Scoil Ui Riada’s hall is filled with wonderful music, as one by one our young students brave the stage and share their music and hearts.

Vantastival

  • Another Singer Not Beginner Showcase takes place, with more  participants having their next step on the ladder of performance being witnessed with love and joy by the community.
  • Our Youth Choir perform in Vantastival, packing out the big tent on a Sunday morning, to a wild and happy bunch of festival go-ers.

 

July

  • It’s the Month for Summer Camps!!!!

    We Love you Dave!

  • Dave Ralph becomes the featured image on our poster launching Kids At Heart, our first ever summer camp for Adults!  What a week we had, even writing an original song which is due to be recorded and released in 2018.
  • Our teen camp write an original musical called Boxesa truly inspiring piece of work.
  • One of our students Saoirse Lawlor, aka Beatrix Nova, launches her first EP, Terra, on her 16th birthday.  What a singer, what a songwriter, all round musical brilliance!

 

August

         Eimear on “holidays!”

 

  • Claire and Eimear take a well deserved break!  Eimear heads off to Thailand, Cambodia & Vietnam, and Claire heads off to Spain.  Time for renewal!  Eimear does very well to take 3 weeks off, but is spotted doing a sneaky bit of work whilst away – spreading the music with a children’s school.

Newgrange

Big Dream Come True

 

 

  • Claire facilitates the Newgrange Dawn Chorus, and a great crowd heads off from  Suso at 6.30 in the morning, and sing their hearts out at the ancient monument, accompanied by Dave McDonald on guitar.  What a great experience!

 

  • Annah Knight shares her creative joy with children at the Wild & Magical Journey art camp.
  • The Men’s Shed Choir sing at Kilcock GAA.

 

September

Alfred

  • Have You Ever Been to the Waterspout…  Alfred comes to Suso!
  • Look Who’s Talking Now choir gets launched.  This is a choir for parents of babies who want to get back to expressing their own voices.
  • Claire does her Album Launch as part of Culture Weekend.  Her album Through Eyes of Love is available on all the usual sites.

 

 

October

               Stormont

  • With our gospel and community choirs we head off on a trip away to Belfast to Sing at Stormont with the Harlandic Male Voice Choir.  What a special weekend to sing in such a beautiful and historic place, and no doubt the resonance of the music impacted on the whole space.
  • The Mum to Mum Support Group has it’s 1st anniversary.  This wonderful support group was established by our sister Ailish and provides a great service to mothers in the area.  For more info, please contact Ailish on 087 3526406.

 

 

November

  • The month begins with our Youth Choir recording their album, Stereotyped with John Leader.
  • Another Singer Not Beginner Showcase takes place in Gregory’s.

                   

  • The Men’s Shed Choir do their concert, Community Connections.  These men are going from strength to strength with each passing week.  This year they did an intergenerational project with the 5th class boys from St Josephs.  During the course of the project, facilitated by Eimear, the boys got to meet the men and see the Men’s Shed, developing connections that will last a long time.

 

December

           

  • Suso Youth Choir launch their album Stereotyped.  All monies raised go towards funding their trip to the Young Bohemia Choral Festival in Prague in March 2018.  To purchase the album, please contact Eimear / Claire on 086 1757636 / 086 1923381.
  • Heidi organises Christmas Unplugged, an open mic night in Gregory’s which was a great success.

 

                      

  • The newly formed choir for mums do their first concert Look Who’s Singing Now, which was doubly special for us as a family, as we watched Ailish share her beautiful voice on stage for the first time in years.
  • We have our annual Christmas Party in the Scouts Hall which was a wild success!

Feeling festive!

  • The Men’s Shed Choir head off to the Pearse-Lyons Distillery in James Street to perform with the newly formed choir from local company Alltech.  We are treated amazingly well, with whiskey-tasting, a pint in the pub next door, and a very happy Claire who gets to play on a Kawai grand piano!
  • Suso Choirs and the Rye River collaborate again for the Annual Carol Singing in the Square, raising over €2,000 for the wonderful Peter McVerry Trust.
  • The guitar students do their Christmas showcase.
  • The school closes, but not before the Men’s Shed perform at the moving crib in Enfield on Christmas Eve.

In Conclusion

Upon reflection, I see that we’ve been slightly busy all year.   We want to acknowledge how much joy you all bring us as our community grows, deepens, flows, changes, adapts, strengthens and transforms.

We want to remember those who have moved onto their next journey in the past few months.  Earlier this year, our eldest choir member and dear friend, Chris, passed on.  He brought us so much joy and was a great friend to all of those he encountered.  We miss you Chris and think of you often x

Singing with Friends

 

So enjoy the festive season.  Take the time to deepen your connection with those in your life, and to share music where possible!  Make someone smile by singing to them in the supermarket, or on the street!  And if anyone tells you that you’re strange, send them down to us at SuSo and we’ll get them singing along in no time!

 

With love

Claire & Eimear and the team at SuSo

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Suso Youth Choir – a Singing Family

By Nell Mescal

In advance of Suso Youth Choir launching their first album, I asked one of our founding members, Nell, to write about her experience of being in the choir:

Spreading the Music with Suso

The Lovely Nell

Speak up Sing out Youth Choir has been one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of.

It started in 2015 and has members from ages 14-21. Ever since it began it has given me so many opportunities I never would ever dreamed of getting. We have performed in many concerts and have sung with the High Hopes Choir, the All Ireland Peace Choir in St.Patricks Cathedral.  We have also sung at the Navan Choral Competition and opened the Canalaphonic Music Festival in 2016 & 2017. This year we went on a trip to Waterford to work with Phil Brennan the musical director of the All Ireland Peace Choir. During the summer we played at Vantastival Music Festival.  We are also on social media, with some of our music videos on YouTube.

Our Singing Family

On a personal note, Suso has made me more confident in my singing and performing in front of people. The thought of singing on my own in front of a big audience used to scare me and I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself but now I feel confident and happy when I sing in front of large crowds.  Each talented member of the choir brings something interesting and different to the group. Eimear and Claire, our music directors, work really hard to give us the opportunities we get and we are all so grateful for them. Being in this choir is like being in a singing family because we have all become really good friends and are very supportive of each other.

Our First Album gets launched

This year we recorded an album called Stereotyped. We all discussed together the songs we wanted to record and it wasn’t long before we were recording. The recording process was really exciting and fun!! Each section went in a group at a time and we recorded our pieces and the soloists went in by themselves. I think I can say on behalf of everyone that this was an amazing experience especially getting to do it with your friends.

Our album will go towards funding a trip to Prague in March 2018 for the Young Bohemia Choral Festival.

What makes Suso Youth Choir special is having so many unique personalities and giving everyone a voice and an opinion in how we do things. I think one of the biggest things for me being the youngest of the choir is that even though I’m the youngest, I have never felt inadequate. For choirs to actually work, individuals have to come together to make a team and that’s exactly what we are.

So get yourself down to Kilcock this Sunday 3rd December for our Stereotyped album launch.  The album is also available for sale through SpeakUp SingOut Music School.  We are worth supporting – we are young people making an awesome change through our music.

 

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How Art helps us to SpeakUp SingOut

Art Camp

Annah Knight

At SpeakUp SingOut we love trying new things.  As part of our regular summer camps we do some art, and this year Annah came to facilitate a couple of sessions to wild success!  So we are delighted to have her facilitate a creative art camp in August and thought it would be great for you to know more about her and her unique approach to community art.

 

So, who is Annah…

Annah is a wonderful creative artist based in Celbridge, specialising in textiles, but an all round gifted artist.  She runs a company called Kumbikids, hand-designing and producing beautiful products from fleece (blankets, buggy fleeces, clothing and much more).  She also runs a weekly community art program for children out of Crea Arts Studio, based in Celbridge.  She is also my older sister and a great source of inspiration and love in my life.

The joy of colour and clothing

Portrait of Tom

Annah was always passionate about creativity.  She has a deep passion for colour and texture which led her to study textiles in NCAD after school.  A few years later she began a different journey of creation as she entered motherhood and now has 4 strapping boys!  In the past few years she has returned to deepen her own practiced and developed a love for portrait work, sketch book doodling, experimenting with different textiles and much more.

 

Creativity Speaks…

At SpeakUp SingOut we are all about creative expression and we understand that when we are creative that other transformations begin to occur in our lives.  I asked Annah about her view on creativity:

I believe strongly that we are all creative beings and there is something for everyone in an artistic sense.  Children are born with an ability to express themselves and if they are given freedom to create and make a ‘mess’ it’s a great opportunity to show something of who they are.

I remember this sense of freedom as a child – Annah is my older sister and I can still recall those days when she would come back from college and the creativity would begin!  I can also see where I have lost this sense of freedom with my own artistic expression, putting myself firmly in the ‘creative musician’ box and opting out of the ‘artist’ box.

Annah and I spoke about the ways in which this freedom of artistic expression can start to dissipate:

When children grow up and often in a school environment things change, comparisons and judgements are made, and they are no longer sure of themselves and self-expression is altered.

I feel that many of us can relate to this with regard to creativity in different forms – we hear it all the time in relation to singing and the same rings through for artistic expression.

So what does a workshop with Annah look like…

It’s full of fun and freedom!  Annah provides the space, materials and opportunity for people to self-direct and create in a multitude of art forms.  In her camps, there is more direction and she will work with themes, but within that structure there is great freedom to express.

Happy at work

Freedom

When we become teachers and facilitators we learn to plan for our sessions.  We live in a very structured world, full of aims and objectives, goals to meet, exams to pass.  But creativity breathes differently.   There is a different kind of flow and spaciousness needed in creative processes.   Annah shared a bit about her approach to allowing the structures drop away:

I believe in letting the process just happen.  It often takes kids a class to let their own creative process emerge, to have no direction or plan but to simply walk around the room and find things they like.  Sometimes there’s a project to work on which suits some kids, but more often it’s free play.

This sense of self-directed learning and expression is so vital in modern times.  There is a great wisdom in children and they have so much to teach us in how they approach the world and life.  They show us a different way – a way of imagination, creativity and joy.

So let yourself be free!  Create, make, get messy.  Build a fairy door, make a fairy, make clothes for a teddy-bear and create your very own story stones.

Door to the otherworld

Fairy Godmother

Cosy Creations

Story Stones

 

 

 

 

 

 

As Annah says herself

It’s magical to witness this wonderful creative journey and to be inspired every time myself.

 

For more information on the August summer camp or Annah’s weekly Saturday sessions, please contact her directly on 087 9427943.

Through Eyes of Love – a Reflection

Last night something magical began in the town of Kilcock.  The Little Chapel was filled with the resonance of voice and heart, as we all gathered for our first night of ‘Singing for Peace’.

Inspired by a recent trip to Waterford where our Youth Choir sang at a Taize service in the Edmund Rice Centre, we created our own night to bring some of that experience back to Kilcock and to offer our voices to the community in thanks for all the support we receive.

And what a night!  We sang simple songs of beauty, people shared poetry that inspired reflection of heart, community, friendship, love, returning to oneself.  We shared silence.  Our voices rose and dipped like waves, everyone in tune with the music and the resonance.  We laughed.  We cried.  Our hearts were opened by our shared intention of singing for peace.

In the morning, an image arose during my meditation.  I saw the chapel and a tree by the river.  As we sang the resonance was gathered by the tree and through the roots all of the magic was sent into the river, into the community and into the hearts of everyone.  We never know the change we effect when we gather like this.  As our hearts open it ripples out into our families and our communities.  We greet strangers with a new smile.

So a big thank you to everyone who came along last night.  The youth choir were blown away by the experience that they created and want this to be a regular event within the community.

I feel we need more of these shared spaces to be in silence together, to share our voices for the beauty of it, to read poetry, to just be.  So let us continue the magic of these sacred spaces and help to heal the world, one heart at a time.

Through eyes of love, you see me

Through eyes of love, I see you

Through eyes of love, you free me

Through eyes of love, through eyes of love

Written by Claire Crehan

New Summer Camp for Adults!

Be Like Dave…. Be a Kid at Heart

Every year we run summer camps for children.  We run morning camps for the ‘Earlies’ – the wee ones, slightly crazier camps for the ‘Middlies’ and then really cool camps for the ‘Teenies’ (teenagers!).  Every day the parents come to collect their children and, seeing what fun was had that day at camp long for a camp for themselves.

So we’re finally doing it!  We’re launching our first summer camp for adults this July.

I’m writing this to cover all the FAQs we’ve been asked of late from the Kids at Heart!

Q1. What will we be doing at the camp?

We will be working with singing, drama, games, writing, art and much more to engage our creative selves and have lots of fun.  We will be providing a space for adults to connect with joy and happiness, to let go of the world outside and focus on themselves.

Q2. Do I need to be able to sing / act / draw to be part of the camp?

Our camps are open to everyone.  Our ethos is connection and personal development through the arts so there is a place for everyone, regardless of experience.  For us, each of the ‘arts’ are doorways to the creative spirit of everyone – for some it’s to sing and share music, for others it’s to paint, create, act, write…  there are no wrong doorways, just different creative experiences.

Q3. How long is the camp?

The camp will be from 6.30 – 9.30 from Tuesday – Friday 11-14 July.

Q4. Why is it called Kid at Heart

Every year parents see the children bounding out of choir or drama, buzzing with creative joy.  As adults we often forget this part of ourselves, or lose touch with it, worried what people will think if we are wild in our expression.  So we want to encourage every Kid at Heart in the world to get creative, get excited, and have fun with other Kids at Heart!!!

Q5. What is all this about personal development and confidence building?

We believe in everyone, we believe in creativity, and we believe in community.  When we work on creative expression together, side effects include an increase in self-confidence and self-esteem, embracing our fears, embracing our joy, and an increased level of connection with ourselves and those around us.

Q6. What do I wear?

Comfortable clothing recommended but all clothing welcome!

Q7. What do I need to bring?

You need to bring yourself.  We will provide all the tools you need to get creative and discover new sides of yourself, and we will also provide tea, coffee and the occasional biscuit!

Q8. Will there be a céilí?

It’s not on the schedule, but we can’t promise anything…  sometimes céilís just happen…

Q9. What if I don’t know anyone?

We aim to provide a very nurturing and safe space for everyone.  Through all of our activities we encourage connection within the group, and we tend to attract lovely people to our space because we too are Kids at Heart.  You will leave with new friends!

Q10. Can I bring wine?

On the last night we will have a wee party after the session…. if you’re all good.   We might even give you all jellies…

 

So I hope this answers all your questions.  Please feel free to contact us if you have any more.  Spaces are limited, so early booking is advised.  You can book your place by calling Eimear or Claire on 086 1757636 / 086 1923381, or by sending an email to speakupsingout@yahoo.com

Take the leap!

Be a Kid at Heart!

 

Suso Youth Choir On the Road

By Claire Crehan

One of the most enjoyable things about this human journey is the deepening of relationships with other humans, the teachings these connections bring and the sharing of experience that is integral to community.  I had the opportunity to deepen many of my connections with the members of our wonderful Youth Choir earlier this month when we went on our first weekend away to work with Phil Brennan, the musical director of both the Ireland of Ireland Peace Choir and the Waterford High Hopes Choir.  We met Phil during the Peter McVerry Christmas Concert in December 2016, where we shared the stage together in St Patricks Cathedral.  With excitement and a slight bit of trepidation, we gathered in the music school on the Friday at lunchtime and the journey began.

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And we’re off..

The guys were excited, open to new challenges and eager to go out and share their music in the world.  We started with an impromptu performance in Heuston Station, followed by a 2 hour concert on the Dublin Waterford train, much to the joy of the whole carriage!  They sang love songs for a bride, Johnny Cash numbers, rap, pop, old Tracy Chapman tunes, a real solid mix – something for everyone on the train I imagine!  I was astounded by the size of their repertoire, song after song, improvised harmonies, confidence bursting through every word and note, and self-consciousness most certainly thrown to the wayside – strong in the pack that they have formed.

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Window at Edmund Rice Chapel

On Friday night we met with Phil and began our first workshop, learning chants and songs for the Taize service that we were to be a part of that night in the Edmund Rice Centre.  A Taize service comprises of songs or chants and readings that bring us into reflection and silence.  The chapel was modern and beautiful.  We were joined by members of the Peace Choir and slowly the community began to filter in for the service.  I have had many experiences of connection through music, but the hour that followed was really special for me, as I got to share this experience with the other members of the choir.  The music moved through us all, finding its own breath and volume, rising and falling, the silence deepening all the time, and the periods of reflection comfortable and familiar.

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Phil Brennan passionately discussing the power of music!

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Working hard

On Saturday we met again in the Edmund Rice Centre with some members of the Peace Choir, and began learning more repertoire for our evening concert at the launch of the new Waterford camino, a new business of Phil Brennan and his partner Elaine.  The guys got to meet a couple of the members of the High Hopes Choir and hear their stories about their life and how music and being part of a choir changed things for them, and opened up whole new worlds of possibility for them.

On Sunday morning we did our reflection with the teenagers and this, for me, was the most awe inspiring moment of the weekend.  Hearing them reflect on their own experience of being part of a choir and the confidence in their own abilities and uniqueness blew me away.  I left this experience renewed and hopeful for life.  They articulated their experience of music so beautifully, sharing what it means to be part of a group that recognises the value of everyone’s voice equally, a group where they get to speak up and sing out about what matters to them, and they recognised that what makes the ‘whole’ so strong is all of the different voices, and that what helps strengthen the voices is the strength of the ‘whole’, of the group.  To hear them each articulate the value they place on themselves and the choir was one of the greatest teachings I’ve had to date.  These guys know that what makes the music so special is the connection that is present between each of them.

There were lots of other magic moments of course – the amazing hospitality of the Granville Hotel, the infamous Granville breakfast spread, Dominos pizza in the Edmund Rice Centre, impromptu bursts of song on the streets of Waterford, singing near the old wine vaults, launching our participation into the Stop Poverty Campaign (more to come on this one!) and much more..

So for me, in the spaces between all the words and the music, the silence of connection deepens every moment we gather to sing and to share our voices.  There is a knowing that is growing all the time that supports open hearts.  When we are open we can learn from everyone and there is no teacher or student, just a sharing of knowledge, joy and love.

“I don’t sing because I’m happy; I’m happy because I sing.”

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Happiness