Introduction 2020 - a year like no other! None of us could have imagined what was to unfold following the St Patrick’s Day speech from the then Taoiseach Leo Varadkar. The World Health Organisation had declared COVID-19 a Global Pandemic. Ireland went into Lockdown for the first time. We were told to protect each other by staying apart. This meant no household visits from family or friends, no hugs from adored grandchildren. The advice was to “Stay at home”. This was not good news for The Forget me Nots! How were we going to survive? Well, with the ‘Tierney girls’, Norah and the enthusiastic ‘FMN’ volunteers at the ready we did not just survive - we thrived! We zoomed, whatsapped, sang, danced, meditated (with the help of our own Caitríona), celebrated birthdays (including Des’ and Joe’s 90ths!), masked up (thanks to Louise & family and Mary O), recorded virtual songs, explored new compositions and harmonies, recited inspiring and uplifting poetry (some of it written by our own bard – Maria), celebrated special seasonal events with our team of volunteers supporting quizzes, prizes, distribution and keeping in personal touch with one another. We even re-branded with this special gift from Úna Healy Design! We learnt so much about different genres of music from Victorian Parlour to Contemporary and everything in between. We welcomed talented guests, chatted, made new friends, told stories, along with plenty of banter and fun. Through adversity, we became even closer to each other… There were times of incredible sadness as we said goodbye to treasured members and close loved ones who were denied, like so many others, the right to a traditional Irish funeral which brings such solace to Irish families. Rest in Peace dear friends as we remember you so fondly with your favourite songs.
Amongst those dark clouds of fear, grief, sadness, loneliness and isolation The Forget me Nots found incredible resilience. “In years to come let them say of us - When things were at their worst we were at our best.” Leo Varadkar, March 2020 Well - that we were! So proud also to have Norah and Órla awarded The Irish Times “COVID Heroes Award” (with thanks to Mary Mongey for that kind nomination.) In capturing these inspirational memories, we hope that when we reach calm waters you can enjoy and share this diary scrapbook with family and friends. Here’s to the next 7 years!
Mairead Kyne Volunteer
Feel So Young Tuesdays commenced Tuesday 24th March Hosted by Norah Walsh
First Virtual Choir Rehearsal (with all future Tuesdays targeted for this purpose) Featured Poems: • And the People Stayed Home, by Kitty O’Meara • Take Care, by Michael D Higgins
And The People Stayed Home By Kitty O’Meara
And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently. And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal. And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.
Tuesday 31st March Hosted by Norah Walsh Virtual Choir Rehearsal Special Feature: Remembering Brendan Grace on his birthday (1st April)
Special Song: This Old Guitar, Sung by Bradley Grace
Bradley Grace This Old Guitar - YouTube
Silver Linings commenced Friday 24th April Hosted by Norah Walsh Musical Appreciation, Special Guests & Fun! Special Guest: Charlie McGettigan
Musical Genre: Eurovision
Featured Poem: If, by Rudyard Kipling
Look for the Silver Lining Songwriters: Bud De Sylva / Jerome Kern Forget-Me-Nots Verse Lyrics by Maria Mahony 2020 during COVID-19 Lockdown
As we stay at home in isolation every day Thinking up new ways to keep loneliness at bay Wondering like other folk what will the next day bring We’ll hope to be together soon to sing… Look for the silver lining Whenever clouds appear in the blue Remember somewhere the sun is shining And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you A heart full of joy and gladness Will always banish sadness and strife So always look for the silver lining And try to find the sunny side of life We’ve no hugs and kisses now, Cos touching we cannot But we’re learning zooming well; who’d have ever thought We’ll be brave and do our best to keep each other well We’ll smile, and on the positive, we’ll dwell… Look for the silver lining Whenever clouds appear in the blue Remember somewhere the sun is shining And so the right thing to do is make it shine for you A heart full of joy and gladness Will always banish sadness and strife So always look for the silver lining And try to find the sunny side of life
Friday 1st May Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Jimmy O’Byrne
Musical Genre: Cole Porter & Parlour Songs
Featured Poem: A Charm on the Night of your Birthday, by Theo Dorgan
Tuesday 12th May – Celebrate Des’ 90th on 11th with the Gallagher Family Friday 15th May – Celebrate Joe P’s 90th on 13th with the Patterson Family Ode to Des, by Maria Mahony Ode to Joe, by Maria Mahony
Special Gift: Songbook Covers courtesy of Member First Credit Union Handmade Masks by Louise Doyle and her family – owners of CurtainWorld
Friday 22nd May YesterYear session hosted by Karen Meenan Special Guest: Sandy Kelly
Musical Genre: Country Music
Featured Poems: The Lake Isle of Inisfree, by WB Yeats If I were a Lady, by Percy French
Friday 29th May Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Mike Denver
Musical Genre: Country Music
Featured Poem: A Prayer for my Daughter, by WB Yeats
Friday 6th June Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Lisa Lambe
Musical Genre: Joni Mitchell / Woodstock Era
Featured Poem: The Cloths of Heaven, by WB Yeats
June – Relaxation Videos introduced….. and Des Curley cheers us up with some inspirational poetry he adds along the way….
Reiki Relaxation with Caitríona Doyle and Yoga Relaxation with Veronica Yeomans
Friday 12th June YesterYear session hosted by Karen Meenan Special Guest: Bobby Doyle
Featured Year: 1949
Featured Poem: The Mother, by Padraig Pearse
Friday 19th June YesterYear session hosted by Karen Meenan Special Guest: Tony Curtis
Featured Poem: Stopping by the Woods on a Snowy Evening, by Robert Frost After Seven, by Tony Curtis
Des Curley Inspiration!
Friday 28th June Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Wayne Woodham
Musical Genre: Opera
Featured Poem: If, by Rudyard Kipling (featured earlier) Lockdown Musings of a Forget-Me-Not, by Maria Mahony
Friday 28th June YesterYear Session Hosted by Karen Meenan Special Guest: Jay Shanahan
Musical Genre: School Hymns and Sacred Music
Featured Poem: The Listeners, by Walter De La Mare
Friday 10th July Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Emmet O’Connor
Musical Genre: Jazz
Featured Poem: Music on Water, by Francis Ledwidge
Friday 17th July YesterYear Session Hosted by Karen Meenan Musical Genre: Old Schoolhouse Memories Quiz sessions begin!
Featured Poem: Ach I Dunno, by Percy French
Thursday 23rd July Launch of our 1st Virtual Recording – We’ll Meet Again! • Premiered at Creative Ireland Webinar 2020 • Participation in Online World Choir Festival of Musicals – Thessalonika, Greece
Friday 24th July Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Mike Hanrahan of Stockton’s Wing
Musical Genre: Irish Folk / Trad
Mike introduces us to his new song ‘A River Runs Down to the Sea”. How exciting for us to be involved in this recording!
Tuesday 21st July Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Hugh Buckley
Musical Genre: Jazz Guitar
Friday 28th July Last Session before our Summer Break Hosted by Norah Walsh and Jay Shanahan Special Event: Non-Denominational Service in celebration of the lasting friendships we have made through this very special choir, and in memory of our members and loved ones who have passed away. This list includes the most recent deaths: Sheila Walls Tony Denver Margaret Clery Marie Wiggins Michael Tierney Johnny Digan Pat Golden Brian Owen Joe Cuddy Claire O’Connell Eileen Kinane
Special Poems: A Flower Remembered, Song by John Rutter Reflections, by Maria Mahony A View of God and the Devil, by Patrick Kavanagh
Whispering Hope | Annie’s Song | The Parting Glass | Close to You Michael Row the Boat Ashore | When You Were Sweet Sixteen Country Roads | Amazing Grace | Bright Blue Rose | Going Home Here I Am Lord | Ave Maria | Grace
Friday 4th September We’re Back! Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Edel Shannon
Musical Genre: Opera
Featured Poem: The Diagonal Steam Trap, by Crawford Howard
Friday 11th September Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guests: Elizabeth Hilliard, Soprano Rhona Clarke, Composer
Musical Genre: Contemporary Music
Featured Poem: The Song of Wandering Aengus, by WB Yeats
Friday 18th September Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Virtual Guest: Daniel O’Donnell
Theme: Donegal & Fun Quiz
Featured Song: Home to Donegal
Friday 16th October Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Sinéad Conway
Musical Genre: The Great American SongBook
Featured Poem: Time Goes By, by Crystal Lewis
Friday 23rd October Session Hosted by Emmet O’Connor Special Guest: Leopoldo Osio
Musical Genre: Nat King Cole | Jazz
Featured Poem: The Wild Swans at Coole, by WB Yeats
Friday 30th October Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Event: Spooktacular Halloween Party! Fantastic Fun and Fab Prizes!
Friday 6th November Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Rebecca Halliday, Oboist
Musical Genre: The Music of Ennio Morricone
Featured Poem: Everything is Going to be All Right, by Derek Mahon
Friday 13th November Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Event: The Musicals Virtual Afternoon Tea Party! More fantastic singing, fun and prizes!
Special Guests: Jimmy O’Byrne Lucy O’Byrne Adam Bajau
Friday 20th November Session Hosted by Jimmy O’Byrne Musical Genre: Swing - The Music of Johnny Mercer
Wednesday 25th November
Snowflakes Text and Music: Gerry O’Halloran Arr. Norah Constance Walsh
We’re so looking forward to recording this beautiful song for Christmas 2021!
Saturday 28th November – with We’ll Meet Again!
Friday 27th November Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Tony Curtis, returning guest
Musical Genre: Christmases Past and Present
Featured Poem: By Bus to Christmas, by Tony Curtis
Friday 11th December Session Hosted by Norah Walsh Special Guest: Donnacha Holmes
Musical Genre: Wedding Songs
Featured Poem: The Shop, by Seamus O’Rourke
Going to the Chapel | Love You Just the Way You Are | Everything I Do Beautiful Dreamer | She | If Ever I Would Leave You | Unforgettable I’ll Never Find Another You | L-O-V-E | Dream a Little Dream of Me You are the Wind Beneath my Wings…
Friday 18th December Special Event Hosted by Norah Walsh Christmas Zoomalong Party with Jimmy and Lucy O’Byrne Musical Genre: Christmas Carols and Songs
Congratulations to Órla and Norah so well deserved.
Thank you to Mary and Maeve for making this nomination on behalf of all of us.
A river rolls down to the sea, down to where you want to be…
“I have watched my lovely Mum slide through the phases of vascular dementia. After one visit I imagined her life as a beautiful flowing river. The river starts on high meandering through life, nourishing many, giving so much to the world. I imagined watching stages of that journey and being there as the river finally reached the ocean. Watching a river being embraced and welcomed by the ocean is a powerful thing. It’s a time for celebration and giving thanks. A river rolls on is my prayer to my Mum but it’s for everyone. I am so thrilled that the voices of The Forget Me Nots Choir, Sandy Kelly and Lisa Lambe are helping me take the song on its own journey. It will be a highlight of my songwriting.” Mike Hanrahan, Stockton’s Wing
Watch this space in 2021! We are so honoured and excited to be part of this amazing project with such a beautiful song and its healing connections with dementia. We’re so lucky to have Mike, Sandy and Lisa in our lives and, of course, our own wonderful Norah Walsh who has collaborated with Mike on the musical arrangement and harmonies.
Thanks Sincere thank you to our generous sponsors and supporters who keep our choir afloat and enable special projects that bring so much joy to all our members.
Thank you to Fiona Cunningham, the MFCU team and members for their generous funding which supports day-to-day choir expenses and whose 3 year sponsorship helps us plan and execute longer term projects.
Thank you to Rafe Costigan, Louise Edmonds, Rory O’Byrne and their teams in Fingal Community, Fingal Age Friendly, and Fingal Arts for their initial and ongoing grants and support for key initiatives, and for our annual not-for-profit Afternoon Tea Dance which has become a key Dublin Northside event for seniors.
Thank you to Bernadette Rooney and her team in the Dublin NorthEast Health & Wellbeing Division for their continued contribution towards our core professional expenses.
Thank you to Úna Healy whose creative talent captures everything the choir means to our members, creating fresh new branding to celebrate our 7th Anniversary in 2021.
Thank you to Clare Maguire for the stunning floral bouquets so generously created at cost for our special occasions, especially the Afternoon Tea Dance and for her ongoing kindness and generosity throughout the years.
Thank you to Eva Kyne for creating the perfect cover for this very special book (and in different colour options for us to choose from!).
Thank you to John, Deirdre and the Baldoyle Print team who look after all our printing needs to the highest standards for the most reasonable price.
You! Sincere gratitude to all our members who each help in whatever ways you can. This includes everything from your time, ideas, donations, bereavement dedications, fund-raising efforts, and everything in between! You all keep our special choir special – keep doing what you do!
Thank You! PAGE 81