Composer George Higgs has been commissioned by Scoil Mhuire Carrick-on-Shannon, through an Arts Council YPCA (young people, children, and the arts) Commission Award and supported by The Dock to create an ambitious work for 'multisensory mobile voices' for the school choir to perform with the Millennium Choir, an adult choir based in Carrick-on-Shannon, Co Leitrim.
From November 2020 to June 2021, George Higgs was The Dock Composer in Residence at Scoil Mhuire on a project called Songs of Ourselves, exploring communal song forms - e.g., work songs, anthems, canons, and call and response – with the ultimate aim of creating a lyric for the innovative choral work he will now compose. Based on his earlier investigations into multisensory composition (The Sense Ensemble, 2017), George asked the students to think of a song not only as sound, but as a participatory activity for all the senses. Students were encouraged to invent gestures to accompany the performance of each song and draw pictures to reflect on the various themes. A Song Scrapbook was amassed from all the sessions, featuring the finished multisensory lyric 'The Dream of the Knockabock'.
'The Dream of the Knockabock' will be a twelve-minute 'mobile composition for multisensory voices' for the two choirs with the accompaniment of an electronic tape part with samples triggered by the composer. The score will be for 6 part harmony - 2 parts for the Scoil Mhuire Choir and 4 parts (SATB) for the Millennium Choir – and will specify vocal and gestural interaction between the different choral divisions as they move about the venue. The composer envisages that the themes of distance and proximity (in response to Covid lockdown) will be central to the composition, with the divisions of the choir serving as characters in a musical narrative. This commission is currently being created and will be a rich pageant of sound and movement will be a spatial performance to remember.