Omagh Memorial Garden for bomb victims

Omagh Memorial Garden for bomb victims

In a previous post titled “Across the Bridge of Hope,” I described my journey to Ireland in 2003 with our gospel choir from New Orleans. It was after a car bombing in a town in Northern Ireland, which resulted in the convening of a youth choir that included Catholic and Protestant adolescents. At the time, sectarianism was widespread in Northern Ireland and, despite that, these youths defied the politics and sang together in beautiful harmony. We went to Northern Ireland to sing with this choir and to go on tour throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This YouTube video was from the choir’s latest visit to the United States.

“On the Omagh Community Youth Choir’s recent tour to the United States they took time out of their busy schedule to do an impromptu performance on the streets of New Orleans. The guitar case was set down and they did a short set for the people walking by.

When the set was done the choir was getting ready to leave, one man came up to Musical Director Daryl Simpson and asked for another song for his girlfriend who was standing near by. It was soon clear what this man had in mind and the choir quickly got back into position and started singing a version of Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Songbird’. He then proceeded to take his girlfriend in front of the choir and ask what will probably be the most scary question he will ever ask.”

After this performance in the French Quarter, the couple joined the choir for the performance at Trinity Episcopal Church in New Orleans and were introduced to the audience. Trinity church is where my choir began our “mission” on September 12, 2001, the day after the notorious attack on September 11th.