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Come The Sails



Waterford Choirs Association staged a one-off performance of Come the Sails on Sunday March 25th, 2012, at 5pm at Christ Church Cathedral, as part of Waterford Writer’s Weekend. Five poets – Michael Coady, Peter Sirr, Megan Nolan, Mark Roper and John Ennis – each wrote words for one of five the sections of the piece. For this event they read their contribution. The readings were followed by a performance of the work by a choir of 100 and a screening of the film about the making of Come the Sails.

Come The Sails Documentary Waterford


 Come the Sails

A new choral performance piece based on Waterford’s rich maritime heritage appropriately received its premiere during the visit to Waterford city of The Tall Ships Races 2011. Come the Sails was first performed in public at the William Vincent Wallace Plaza in Waterford on June 30 2011 in the presence of An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD.


The Waterford Choirs Association (WCA) commissioned the choral work as a tribute to Waterford and the profound relationship between the River Suir and the history of the city. The work consists of four choral sections interlinked by a fifth instrumental piece which is accompanied by the spoken word.


The Waterford Choirs Association assembled a massed festival choir of 200 adults, children and senior citizens for the premiere. Accompanied by a chamber orchestra, Come the Sails proved to be a musical highlight of the festivities, creating a moment in time when Waterford choristers, musicians and poets celebrated the rich musical and maritime history of the city.


A first forWaterford, WCA worked with five composers and five poets fromWaterford or with strong Waterford connections to collaborate in pairs on creating the five sections of the piece. The artists involved in this collaborative work are: choir director and conductor, Niall Crowley; composers, Marian Ingoldsby, Eric Sweeney, Ben Hanlon, Sue Furlong and Greg Scanlon; poets Michael Coady – spoken word – Peter Sirr, Megan Nolan, Mark Roper and John Ennis, who jointly created the lyrics.

This is my poem:



Magnificence of rigging
above a mile of quay,
the city’s face freshened
by salt from every sea.

New churches, new cathedrals,
Christ glorified in stone.
In Anne’s Lane a furnace
and the first crystal blown.

Forty sets of piers of oak,
the Timber Bridge is built.
The river keeps her rhythm,
for tribute brings her silt.