The Beginnings of the Men’s Shed Choir

A Message from the Heart

Working with the Kilcock Community Men’s Shed over the past 18 months has been a wild and wonderful journey that has really touched my heart and the heart of Eimear and all our family.

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Dad’s in the middle happily standing on rubble!

Anto Crehan

Our father, Anto Crehan, was a founding member of the Kilcock shed.  I remember him talking about the men he was meeting and the great plans that were in store for the space.  Dad was a man of great skill – some of the handiest hands ever made, and we were all delighted that he was part of something where he could share these skills and learn new skills.  He had taken up wood-turning in his 70’s and was discovering his artistic talents and enjoying the creation of beautiful things!

Dad passed away suddenly one morning whilst in the men’s shed, laughter his final gesture within this world.  It was shocking for the men who were with him, and shocking for us as a family.  We had never experienced a loss like it before.

The Transformation of Sorrow

A few weeks after Dad died, I received a call from Eimear asking if I wanted to set up a music school in Kilcock.  I thought ‘life is too short’,  I said yes and, 6 weeks later, on Dad’s 3 month anniversary, we opened the music school with huge support from the community within Kilcock.

We had decided to do a big fundraising concert for the Men’s Shed in April 2015 with the SUSO Gospel Choir.  Dad had joined the gospel choir in September 2014, and had fulfilled a life-long wish to sing solo the week before he died.  Here he is in the midst of the choir, another new project in his life.  He passed away the next morning.

Dad's gospel career!
Dad’s gospel career!

The Men’s Shed Choir is Born

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Getting official!

Eimear is passionate about everyone in the world singing!  She had the idea of the men from the Shed singing a song at the concert.  Down she went to work with them on ‘All God’s Creatures in preparation for the big night.  They weren’t listed on the poster, just down as a guest spot.

A friend of mine, Imogen Gunner, was playing violin on the night, and to her beautiful rendition of ‘The Last of the Summer Wine’ all the men rose up from different parts of the audience and approached the stage for their big number.  It was an emotional night and a huge success!

What to do in 2016 but give them a proper set and list them on the poster! There was no stopping them after that!  Full steam ahead!

 

Gathering the Blessings

The last 2 years have been filled with so many special moments.  The sadness could have overtaken us, but it didn’t.  We celebrate our father in so many ways and we see that his passing has brought such blessings to us, our family and to the wider community of Kilcock.  Every time we meet with the men we are filled with gratitude.  We are so proud of their willingness to show up and to try something new, to be excited about their achievements and to strive for more and more.  There is such comraderie in the Shed, an openness and a welcoming air for everyone who walks through the door.  Amidst the jokes and the craic, there is huge support and encouragement for each other and a genuine sense of community.

We want to say a big thank you from the bottom of our hearts to the men in the shed who have journeyed with us these past 2 years, to the community of Kilcock for your kindness, support and encouragement with our music school and to our father, Anto Crehan, who is one of our greatest teachers and guides.  We love you, we miss you and we celebrate you all the time.  You gifted us all with a beautiful legacy.

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“So fill to me the parting glass, goodnight and joy be with you all”
Post Author
Claire Crehan

Claire Crehan

Claire is co-founder of SpeakUp SingOut. She's a community music teacher, piano teacher, composer, performer and musical director. She also arranges all the music for our choirs, creating bespoke arrangements for each group she works work.
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