By Cathy McCarthy
I was so looking forward to Saturday as I was travelling to Electric Picnic for the first time. I had been asked to sing with the High Hopes Choir.
My son Jack and I headed off on the bus with the members of the Dublin High Hopes. There was a two hour rehearsal before the show.
After the rehearsal came to a successful conclusion, we finally got to the grounds, a little late, but full of excitement. As we waited to go on stage, the crowd was gathering.
The weather was holding up, nothing like the predictions from the Met Office. Cloudy, but no rain.
After settling into position, the choir eventually started to sing. They immediately got the attention of the crowd. The repertoire, an eclectic mix, Crazy World, Let It Be, Fix You, Lean on Me and Three Little Birds among many others. Everyone knew the words and all joined in.
But the unexpected moment happened towards the end of the gig. David Brophy spontaneously asked Bert, the oldest member of the choir at 86 years of age, if he would like to sing. After a little hesitation, Bert started to sing his signature tune, “My Way”.
You could not write the script, words fail me to describe this moment. I observed the audience and many were wiping away the tears. It was one of those moments in time where you just had to be there. I feel so honoured to have been a witness to this event. I believe that everyone will remember Bert for a very long time to come. I know I will.
Many people came up afterwards to offer their congratulations to the choir. Noelle, who works with the choir in Waterford was telling me that she met a young man called Christopher with his girlfriend.
Christopher said to Noelle; “We watched the Chemical Brothers last night and they went to our head. But today we watched the High Hopes Choir and they went to our heart.”
What an accolade.
One lady I spoke to told me that this is not just a choir.
“The people in this choir are my community, my tribe,” she said.
“They lift me up on days I cannot get out of bed.
“They are my family, and for that I am so grateful.
“They encourage me, inspire me, and walk with me when I don’t see a future.
“They understand me, when I don’t even understand myself. “
As the concert concluded, there were calls for “one more tune”, but unfortunately our time was up.
The choir have left a lasting impression etched in the hearts of so many people. They sang with passion and purpose. They lived the words of the songs.
The lyrics of the songs have deep meaning in their lives. The song “Lean on Me” can resonate with those fragile souls.
In fact, who among us does not experience times in our lives when we need to lean on friends and family, those times when we are broken and literally do not have the strength to carry on.
There was an article in the Irish Independent last Friday, 2nd September, entitled “High Hopes Choir Banks on Electric Picnic to boost Eurovision dream.” There were sceptics who said that the choir would not endure the test of time.
How wrong they were. A Eurovision entry may seem an impossible dream, but who knows dreams do come true.
I saw a quote once and it said, the word is not “impossible, it is saying “I’m possible”.
Who knows what the future holds, let’s just wait and see. Some interesting days ahead for the High Hopes Choir.