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  • Northside West

Senior chorus are screen stars

Friday, 11th January, 2019 6:00pm
Senior chorus are screen  stars

Forever Young belt out a rousing tune at the documentary screening in the Lighthouse.

Senior chorus are screen  stars

Forever Young belt out a rousing tune at the documentary screening in the Lighthouse.

Orla Dwyer

AN OVER 65s Finglas choir screened a documentary about their group in the Lighthouse Cinema to a standing ovation last month.

Forever Young is a group of 20 elderly people from Finglas who perform songs not typically sung by elderly choruses.

The documentary about the group was directed by Paul Farren and produced by Kevin Smullen, manager of the CDETB Adult Education Service in Finglas.

Smullen oversees the chorus but never thought the film would reach such a wide audience. 

“The idea was that I was going to make a short documentary and show it to the group on a screen in my centre,” said Smullen. “We had no intention of putting it on in a cinema until somebody asked me, why not?”

The Forever Young Chorus was set up in 2007 as an initiative of the CDETB Adult Education Service. Its main aim is to present a positive image of ageing through music. 

“We tend to call it the premium chorus, we’ve always kind of avoided the word choir,” said Smullen. “I like to view it as a choir with attitude.”

They aim of the film is to show how the chorus rehearses, works together and prepares for performances. The documentary was put together using clips of the group from 2010 to now.

“Myself and the director were a bit nervous about people seeing themselves up on the big screen,” said Smullen. “They all, including myself, have actually resolved to lose weight after seeing themselves!”

The documentary lasted 25 minutes and was followed by a half hour performance from the chorus.

“All of the people that performed in that were positively high afterwards and you can be sure that they’re still floating from that performance,” said Smullen.

The screening was a huge success with over 200 people in attendance.

“They were a great audience, so I think we had the best performance ever on that particular day.”

Unfortunately, the film cannot be commercialised for copyright issues from the songs performed, but copies will be made and given out to members of the chorus. 

“We put a lot of work into it coming up to the screening so we’re kind of resting from it now,” said Smullen. 

“We may at some stage show the documentary again because it worked very well to show the documentary and then follow it with a live performance.”

The chorus started out 11 years ago after Smullen watched a documentary about ‘Young@Heart’, a chorus of senior citizens from the US who sang contemporary songs.

The idea intrigued him and he decided to bring it to Finglas after the original ‘Young@Heart’ group performed in the O’Reilly theatre in Dublin. 

“Dublin City Council paid for about 100 older people from Finglas and Cabra to go to it,” said Smullen. 

After this, Smullen invited these people to a meeting.

“About 40 people turned up and about 30 of them signed up for the project and it’s been running ever since,” he said. 

“The whole thing is about working towards public performances. The group perform roughly eight times a year.”

Smullen said the chorus enjoy starting off with a slower song to “lull people into a false sense of security” before singing songs like Tainted Love by Soft Cell.

“They like to jolt the audience,” he said. 

The group have performed in the Mansion House, the St Stephen’s Green Bandstand, the Burlington Hotel and the Hogan Mezzanine in Croke Park. Most recently, they performed in the AIB branch in Finglas to raise money for charity.

Read the digital editions of the Dublin People Northside East, Northside West & Southside here