High Hopes Choir

This is certainly what it “says on the tin”. A young Irish conductor  David Brophy had the idea of forming a choir composed of people who were were sleeping rough or had been homeless at some time in their lives. He started in Dublin going up to the homeless people asking them if they would be interested in joining a choir. He had no idea if they would turn up or if they did what state they would be in. But turn up, they did and a choir was born.

Due to Brophy’s unbounded enthusiasm, assistance from others who work with the homeless and a non critical attitude the guys kept coming for practise. He extended the idea to Waterford and a second branch of the choir was formed.

In three programmes on Irish television we  followed the progress of the sixty people of the choir. This was real reality television. There were no guarantees of happy endings. It was an emotional roller coaster where lives were being turned around by the simple fact of being respected and given a chance.

In just eight weeks The High Hopes Choir put on their first performance and made a recording. It can be purchased on iTunes (costs 1.24€) or Amazon (costs 99c) and the proceeds go to help the homeless.

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You can hear the choir singing on Irelands Late Late TV show here.

They  went on to sing in Christ Church Cathedral, in Dublin, to critical acclaim. There are some great voices in the choir but it is their stories that moved us the most.

 

Fête des Lumières 2015

Last night, 1 December, was the fête des lumières in our village. Each year this festival is celebrated with a fireworks display. Then because we have a water basin (etang) the children make boats and float them on the etang with a night light on top. Everyone then parades around the village with the children carrying lanterns. We have lived here now for fourteen years and I have missed very few fête des lumières. I remember them mostly for the biting dry cold but this year is memorable for the rain. It has been an exceptionally wet autumn and winter so far. Just as the children started their parade so did the rain. It didn’t last long and it didn’t dampen the spirits of the crowd.

I am not sure if the damp weather created more smoke from the fireworks than normal or if it was the type of fireworks used but it was a nightmare to photograph. I had a great spot from which to take the photographs but the result was really disappointing. However I will add a couple to give you some idea of the atmosphere.

The show started with the trees being illuminated in red

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Then the children floated their boats on the etang:

 

 

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The children set off round the village and returned for the wireworks:

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