The Island of Ireland Peace Choir
The Island of Ireland Peace Choir was formed in the aftermath of a terrorist attack that killed 31 people in Omagh in 1998 and is comprised of Catholics and Protestants from Omagh in Northern Ireland and from Waterford in Southern Ireland as well as people from around Ireland and the UK who believe that what unites them as Christians is far more powerful than anything that could divide them.
The collective power of their diverse voices of the choir when they sing in Taizé vigils and concerts around Ireland is a potent symbol of their shared aspiration for a new style of society on this island where difference and discord gives way to something more inclusive and harmonious.
The Island of Ireland Peace Choir was invited to sing in Messines, Belgium at a commemoration to mark the 100th anniversary of ‘The 1914 Christmas Peace Truce’. Dr. Phil Brennan, Founder and Musical Director of ‘The Island of Ireland Peace Choir’, reflects on the importance of keeping alive the memory of all that happened that Christmas Eve night: “I cannot imagine what it would have felt like when the silence that hovered over the trenches was interrupted by the sound of a lone tenor voice singing ‘Silent Night’.
Both sides left the sanctuary of the trenches, walked across ‘no man’s land’ and played football together. Two sides momentarily glimpsed their shared humanity and the absurdity of what they were part of.” Music stirs the soul and transports us effortlessly beyond our normal boundaries into the realm of the sacred. The men of ‘The 1914 Christmas Peace Truce’ remind us that peace can prevail even against the bleakest of backdrops. The hushed murmurings of their song can still be heard. The Christian story and the story of its people collided powerfully yet poignantly that night. Something timeless spilled out onto the battlefields that must never be forgotten.