They came from different parts of the city, men and women, dressed in full uniform. On reaching the barricades on St. Stephen’s Green, they were greeted by friends and together made their way to their destination.
This is not an eye-witness report of Óglaigh na hÉireann on their way to the trenches surrounding The Green to defend their city in 1916. No, this is Dolce, answering the invitation to commemorate the Centenary of the 1916 Rising in University Church on Easter Monday 2016.
As reinforcements arrived, our Commander-in-Chief, Deirdre, mobilized the choir. The order went out to assemble in the “wind tunnel” alongside the church for a warm–up. Some startled passersby stopped and stared. A boy, who dyed his hair green for St. Patrick’s Day and decided he liked his new look, did a double take, just to reassure himself he wasn’t hallucinating!
When the wristbands saying ‘Contributors’ were firmly in place, we made our way into the venue. With sound-checks completed and instructions given, the event opened with the multi-talented and multi-instrumentalist Rowsome Sisters – scions of the famous Leo Rowsome, uileann piper extraordinaire. The nation can be assured that our traditional Irish heritage is in safe hands.
In silence and dignity, Dolce filed on, conscious of the fact that we were privileged to be part of this historic occasion. And so it began, with splendid valour and devotion, as our own Mary S inspired each of us with her reading of the proclamation. We strived to give our last breath, if not for the salvation of the nation, then for the benefit of a sold-out audience.
A beautiful rendition of “The Foggy Dew” by Paula Curry, and tuneful singing of the verses of “Grace” by Paul, John L. and Mike, gave us cause to be proud.
Our cantors for Cloud’s Veil, Brian and John M. added richness to this liturgical piece.
Bob’s first hand account of his grandfather’s involvement in the Easter Rising together with Marcella’s profile of her husband John’s great-grand–aunt, the iconic Elizabeth O’ Farrell, brought the events of the Rising to life.
As the performance drew to an end, the overall feeling was that we had made a small contribution, but also a proud one, to the 1916 Centenary Commemoration.
A special word of thanks to two choir members in particular – one sleep-deprived alto travelled through the night to join the choir and the other, a bass, suffered a leg injury in a battle with an immovable object in Clontarf. Both refused to allow these small inconveniences deter them from joining their comrades on that historic Easter Monday 2016.