Join President Michael D Higgins as he leads nation in a musical tribute to Ireland’s frontline workers


President Michael D Higgins to lead nation in a tribute to Ireland’s frontline workers on European Music Day: Sunday June 21, 2020

Wednesday 17 June 2020: President Michael D Higgins will launch a nationwide musical tribute to the country’s frontline workers at 6pm on Sunday 21 June, European Music Day. Four musicians will join President Higgins on the steps of Áras an Uachtaráin to perform Beethoven’s Ode to Joy (Óid don Lúcháire), the European Anthem, before the musical salute continues with a larger group of musicians and singers led by the acclaimed soprano Mairéad Buicke on the steps of the National Concert Hall, Dublin. Ode to Joy will then echo across the entire nation as musicians and music lovers will be called on to perform their own European Music Day tribute to all our frontline workers within their local communities, while maintaining physical distancing.

The tributes at Áras an Uachtaráin and the National Concert Hall will be streamed on and on a number of social media platforms including those of the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, the National Concert Hall and RTÉ lyric fm. Participants around the country are also asked to share their performance live on social media with the hashtag #OdeToJoyIE.

Over 80 organisations around Ireland, curated by Professor James Cavanagh, will collaborate for this countrywide event. Led by the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, together they are coordinating their members and hoping to involve as many of Ireland’s 600,000 instrumentalists, singers, dancers and performers as possible in this unique, live musical moment. Many well-known personalities, including Daniel O’Donnell and Foster and Allen’s Mick Foster have already pledged their support.

The project’s curator Professor James Cavanagh said:

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Irish musicians and performers to reach out to all of our frontline and service workers with this national gesture and tribute. Taking place on European Music Day and during Beethoven’s 250th anniversary year, it is also a way to show our solidarity and goodwill towards our fellow Europeans. Experience the power of music while Ode To Joy-Óid don Lúchaire rings and sings throughout our nation.”

Just a small selection of the many physically distanced tributes planned around the country on 21 June include a performance at Harold’s Cross Hospice by the RTÉ NSO Brass Quartet, a performance featuring musicians from the St Agnes’ Community Centre for Music and the Arts on Armagh Road, Crumlin, a performance by members of Tullamore Stage School outside the Midlands Regional Hospital in Tullamore and a performance by members of the Symphonic Waves youth orchestra outside Maryfield Nursing Home in Athenry.

Get involved and join the tribute

Performers of all ages are invited to perform Ode to Joy in whatever style they like from their doorsteps or public green areas – musicians, singers, actors, poets or dancers! Help the celebration come to life online by live streaming your performance with the hashtag #OdeToJoyIE

All genres and styles are welcome, from Jazz to Classical, Traditional to Pop, Rock and Rap. The sheet music has been arranged as a simple line of music so that everyone, from beginners to the most advanced professionals, can join in this special dedication. Anyone who cannot play an instrument is invited to sing or read poetry. New lyrics to accompany Beethoven’s Ode to Joy have been penned especially for the tribute by Catherine Ann Cullen, Poetry Ireland Poet-in-Residence.

For full details, including sheet music and lyrics plus sample audio and video performances visit:

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Photo credit: Symphonic Waves by Maurice Gunning