Irish Pensioners Choir Debut on Prime time ITV!

Well, we are so proud of the Irish Pensioners Choir here at the Irish Elders Culture Office!

Episode 2 of the second series of Play to the Whistle was aired on ITV on Saturday 23rd April at 9.20pm – Prime Time slot! Guests included the champion boxer Anthony Joshua, and comedians Jon Richardson and Kevin Bridges, and of course…The fabulous Irish Pensioners Choir! Team Captains Bradley Walsh and Frank Lampard were on top form and the whole show was presented by Holly Willoughby and Sean Walsh.

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The second round of the quiz was the choir’s time to shine. They sang two football chants, missing out certain words which the teams were then required to guess, and then each chant was sung in full to reveal the answer. The teams, the audience and everyone in the studio absolutely loved the performances and of course they loved the choir themselves! We all had such a good day during the recording, and we were very well looked after by Fountain Studios and the Hungry Bear Media team. A Big thank you to them!

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If you missed the show, you can catch it online here: http://www.itv.com/hub/play-to-the-whistle/2a3892a0010

Enjoy!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to one and all!

It’s been a busy few days for us all here at the Culture office to start the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. The Irish Pensioners’ Choir had the pleasure of taking part in the Irish Embassy and TFL project ‘St. Patrick’s on the Underground’ and performed a busking slot in Tottenham Court Road tube station. The atmosphere was buzzing and the choir sang up a storm!

Thank you to everyone who stopped and listened, joined in, supported us and donated. All donations will go to the Irish Elderly Advice Network in helping them continue their work with the older Irish community in the UK.

 

We were also very privileged to be able to take part in the finale of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Trafalgar Square along with members of the Ceiliuradh choir and the house band. The performance, conducted by Richard Swan of London City Voices, was a great success and had the whole crowd singing along with us. What an experience it was!

Here’s a little clip of us enjoying the vibe backstage

Thank you to everyone who took part and helped to make it happen.

And finally, last night staff from both the Irish Elderly Advice Network and the Irish Elders Culture Office had the pleasure of attending the St. Patrick’s Day Reception at the Embassy of Ireland hosted by Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain Dan Mulhall and Greta Mulhall.

The room was full to the brim with people enjoying the atmosphere, the shamrocks, and the St. Patrick’s Day buzz. What a fantastic few days it’s been already, and we haven’t even reached St. Patrick’s Day yet!

Happy St. Patrick’s to one and all, I hope yours is as lively and fun filled as ours has already been!

Slainte!!

Irish Pensioners’ Choir to feature on ‘Play to the Whistle’ for ITV

The Irish Pensioners’ Choir were lucky enough to be asked to be part of the second series of sports Quiz show Play to the Whistle presented by Holly Willoughby and featuring team captains Frank Lampard and Bradley Walsh, and score keeper Sean Walsh.

We rehearsed long and hard on Wednesday afternoon to be ready for recording at Fountain Studios in Wembley on Friday. I won’t give too much away about what we had to do…(You’ll have to watch the program for that!), but it was a break from our normal repertoire, that took the choir out of their comfort zone. Of course they turned their hand to it with ease, and as always, with an incredible ‘can do’ attitude. Our choir leader, Natasha, said she has ‘never come across a choir that is more willing to give these things a go’!

What I can say is that the choir did absolutely brilliantly! We received excellent feedback from the contestants, producers and audience and thoroughly enjoyed our day. Bradley Walsh made a special effort to come and thank us for our hard work and participation and even said he’d prefer to be singing with us rather than sat with his team. What a compliment! It was a real privilege to be part of the show and we can’t wait to see it.

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The program should be aired in April of this year. We’ll keep you posted with more specific dates and times as soon as we can. Keep a keen eye on your TV listings…we’d hate for you to miss it!

Magical Afternoon with Sean and James Cannon

We enjoyed an absolutely magical afternoon concert at the London Irish Centre on Friday 18th December. The concert was hosted by the Irish Elderly Advice Network and Irish Elders Culture Office and featured Sean and James Cannon with support from the Irish Pensioners Choir.

Sean and James Cannon performed a range of songs that included songs in Irish, Italian and English. It was a wonderful mix of ballads, folk tunes and folk songs that really got everybody going!

Here is our very own Nora Mulready performing a few Irish tunes with the Cannons. Sean and Nora

 

 

 

 

 

Sean gave a very special dedication to Mollie Ormonde who turns 90 this December – Happy Birthday Mollie! And both Sean and James were very generous in performing with the Irish Pensioners Choir, Nora and Kathy to end the show.

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We loved every minute of it, and would like to say a huge thank you to Sean and James Cannon and the Irish Pensioners Choir for performing, and to everyone who came in support of the concert, we hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

You can catch the Irish Pensioners Choir in their last performance of the year this evening as part of Christmas by Candlelight with Irish Heritage in St. George’s Church, Hanover Square.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us here at the Irish Elderly Advice Network and the Irish Elders Culture Office.

Irish Elders Culture Office reflects on the achievements of its first year

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The Irish Elders Culture Office has now been open for a whole year – and my gosh what a year it has been!

Nora Mulready reflects on the work of the Irish Elders Culture Office in its first year. An article for the Irish World Newspaper

There was the success of the Nuns Chorus – a play written by Sally Mulready and performed by older Irish people to very high acclaim; The sold out night of older Irish Culture in Kilburn; The launch of Ceol agus Soul – an album of Irish poetry and song recorded by older Irish people in Britain in collaboration with the Irish Elderly Advice Network, Irish Elders Culture Office and generously funded by ESB. The CD includes poems written by some of the great Irish poets including Heaney, Yeats and Kavanagh as well as President Michael D. Higgins amongst others, it also includes recitations by Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain, Dan Mulhall (CDs available to buy on 020 7428 0471 and soon to be available online at http://www.irisheldersadvice.org.uk). There was the sold out concert in the Haringey Irish Centre headlined by Sean Cannon (Dubliners) and which included performers aged between 7-90 (another concert with Sean Cannon is to take place in the London Irish Centre on the 18th December 2016 – for tickets call 0207 428 0471); and a now annual collaboration with Karen Ryan and the Return to Camden Town Festival to host an afternoon concert full of Irish music and song. And of course we can’t forget the success of Aine morrissey who came first in the Gealic Language category in the Gaelic voices Festival this year! We have also welcomed Natasha Lohan as the new choir leader for the Irish Pensioners Choir, she is doing an excellent job – we are very pleased to have her on board. Phew – what a year – and this is only some of the work we have been doing!

We’re not quite finished for the year yet – you can still get tickets for our concert with Sean Cannon on the 18th December and you can catch the Irish Pensioners Choir performing as part of the Irish Heritage Christmas Concert in St. George’s Church, Hanover Square on December 21st at 7pm. The concert also features Nora Connolly and Terry Wogan – tickets are £15 and can be purchased from http://www.irishheritage.co.uk

Next year we will be embarking on a project to film and record the childhood memories of older Irish people who grew up soon after 1916. This will be part of marking 100 years since 1916 and we are very grateful for the support of the Department of Foreign Affairs for their generous donation of £1000 to this project. If you have any memories of this time, we would love to hear from you. Please call 020 7428 0471 or email kathy@irishelders.org.uk to be involved.

We are also aiming to tour Nuns Chorus around the UK and possibly in Ireland; we are planning a 1916 commemoration trip to Cork (more details to follow if you are interested in being part of this); there are plenty of concerts  and performance from the Irish Pensioners Choir on the horizon; and of course we will be continuing our work helping older Irish people to apply for grants and funding to complete their own cultural projects. Please get in contact if you have a project that you would like to discuss or would like our help with.

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Irish Elders Culture Office and the Irish Elderly Advice Network would like to thank everyone for their continued support over the years and to the Department of Foreign Affairs Emigrant Support programme, Ireland fund of Great Britain and Camden Council amongst others for their generous funding.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Here’s to a very successful 2015 and an even more successful 2016!

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Ceol agus Soul Launch at the Embassy of Ireland GB

Tuesday 24th November saw the Irish Elderly Advice Network in collaboration with the Irish Pensioners  Choir and ESB launch their CD of Irish poetry and song at the Embassy of Ireland GB.

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The launch was generously hosted by the Ambassador of Ireland to Great Britain, Dan Mulhall (who also features on the CD reciting two poems by W.B Yeats) and his wife Greta, at the Embassy of Ireland GB. We would like to say a big thank you to them for their kind support of the project, the Irish Elderly Advice Network and the Irish Pensioners Choir.

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We would also like to thank everyone who attended the launch. We were all so pleased that so many people, including journalists from the Irish Post; the Irish World; TG4; representatives from Camden Borough Council; the Ireland Fund of Great Britain; the Embassy of Ireland; and family members of the participants, among others, could join us. We were very touched that members of John Butlers family were able to share the afternoon with us, as John sadly passed away shortly after recording his poems. We hope that the CD can serve as a part of a lasting legacy of John.

Natasha Lohan led The Irish Pensioners Choir in giving excellent performances of Cunla, Raglan Road, including beautiful solo verses from Tom Wheeler and Jerry Hayes, and Bean Phaidin with brilliant verses sung in Irish by Aine Morrissey, Barbara Carroll and Maura Duckett. Well done everyone!

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We were also treated to a reading by Ambassador Dan Mulhall, of ‘The Song of Wandering Aengus’ by W.B Yeats, which can also be heard on the CD.

So much hard work has gone into the recording of this album, it really is a beautiful project helping to preserve Irish culture and heritage. It would not have be possible without the generous grant from ESB and the continued help and support of Liz Halsall and Clare Duffy in particular. Thank you also to Tunehouse Productions for composing the music, recording and producing the album and to Eithne Twomey for allowing her artwork to be used on the sleeve. And of course a huge thank you to everyone who recorded on the album, it sounds truly magical!

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The CD would make an excellent Christmas present or stocking filler or just a treat for yourself. CDs cost £10 and all proceeds go towards supporting the ongoing work of the Irish Elderly Advice Network in helping to tackle depression, isolation and poverty in older Irish people. You can purchase the CD online soon via http://www.irisheldersadvice.org.uk or by calling 020 7428 0471.

The Irish Elderly Advice Network is generously funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs Emigrant Support Programme, the Ireland fund of Great Britain, Camden Borough Council, Bridge House Trust and other funders.

 

An Intimate Christmas concert with Sean Cannon (Dubliners) and his son, James.

The Irish Elderly Advice Network are very pleased to welcome back Sean Cannon of the Dubliners and his son James Cannon for an intimate Christmas concert on the 18th December 2015, between 2-4pm in the Presidential Suite at the London Irish Centre NW1 9XB. 

The concert will be full of wonderful music including traditional Irish and English folk songs, songs in Gaelic, Italian arias and many more. Support will be provided by the Irish Pensioners choir.

We do hope you can join us for this special festive afternoon concert. Entrance is by ticket only and ticket numbers are strictly limited to 100.

You can purchase your ticket for £10 via our Camden office or reserve a ticket by calling 0207 428 0471.

We look forward to seeing you there for what promises to be a very special afternoon.