In 1975, Chris Clarken, of the Portlaoise and District Arts Society, approached fellow teacher Brendan McNamara about getting singers together for a Passion Play he intended producing. That project was cancelled – allegedly because the producer couldn’t find enough apostles – but the assembled singers stayed together and thus were born the Portlaoise Singers. Since then, their repertoire has included everything from popular songs and seasonal favourites, to demanding classical pieces.

The Singers have received numerous awards, given recitals on radio and represented Ireland at musical festivals abroad. In 2009, they joined many other choirs to perform John Rutter’s Requiem and, a year later, the world premiere of Gloria by Karl Jenkins, in the Royal Albert Hall. Three of the late musician Brendan Breen’s daughters were in the choir that night in 2009. Surely that’s some sort of record (or at least a question in a Table Quiz!): name the local man and his three daughters who have performed in the Royal Albert Hall?

One of the loveliest pieces performed by the Singers is I Will Walk with my Love with soloists Patricia Finnegan and Emer McLoughlin. This sublime music was recorded in the Heath Church and you can listen to it HERE. Use your browser's Back button to return to this page