Press Release

PRESS RELEASE – Friday 18 December – Immediate

Two hundred singers and musicians from seven countries to bring ‘The Christmas Story’ to life on Sunday 20 December

– Actor Jeremy Irons to narrate the story
– Carols to be live streamed on Facebook, YouTube and onwww.thechristmasstory.ie

The Christmas Season will truly be upon us this coming Sunday when more than 200 singers and musicians from seven countries take to a virtual stage to bring the Christmas Story to life. The largest and most geographically diverse choir ensemble are going to perform a number of the carols of the Nativity online on Sunday 20 December.

Actor Jeremy Irons will provide the narration to the event which will go live on Facebook, YouTube and on www.thechristmasstory.ie at 9.00pm (local time) on 20 December.

The event, which has been months in the planning, saw musicians and singers recording tracks and vocals in living rooms, kitchens and bedrooms from Ireland, UK, Italy, Australia, USA, Austria and Germany. These recordings were sent by dropbox and email to producer Ian Callanan who had the task of bringing the voices and tracks together into The Christmas Story.

Ian Callanan is one of Ireland’s leading composers of liturgical music. He has been involved with liturgical music his entire life and has been composing music for over 25 years. He is an accomplished composer, arranger, score editor and workshop leader. Ian’s own works are undoubtedly inspired by Ireland’s great musical tradition. Such is the popularity of his music that it can be heard sung in the many varied languages throughout Europe. Much of his music has been used for television and radio broadcasts.

Commenting on the upcoming event Ian said, “I wanted to do something to celebrate Christmas and to make up for the fact that so many carol services have not happened this year in parishes across Ireland and across the world as a result of the various restrictions in place. I also wanted to do something to showcase how wonderful our musicians and vocalists are. It has been an incredibly difficult year for everyone as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. We have missed out on so much. Covid-19 has decimated the Arts and Entertainment industry and musicians and performers throughout the world have lost their income streams, with many now struggling to get by. All the musicians, singers and editors who have played/helped in this project have volunteered their time.

“While the live stream is free I would like to try and raise some money to support those artists and musicians who have given their time so generously to the project. Please spread the world and let’s bring people into the Christmas spirit this coming Sunday.”

The Christmas Story broadcast will see 14 songs performed by an array of different soloists and choirs accompanied by some really fine musicians. Some of the pieces will be very familiar and some are new arrangements of traditional songs. Preview some of the pieces and watch a promotional video here Dropbox https://bit.ly/38bBlBF

All are welcome to join in on Sunday 20th December on www.thechristmasstory.ie.

Notes to Editors:

The Song List

  1. December Rose
  2. In the Bleak Midwinter
  3. Still the Night (Silent Night) (Verse 1 sung in German)
  4. Don Oíche Úd I Mbeithil (In Bethlehem That Evening)
  5. Away in a Manger
  6. The Wexford Carol
  7. What Child Is This
  8. Starry Night
  9. O Holy Night
  10. Lullaby for Baby Jesus (Sleep Quietly My Jesus)
  11. O Come All Ye Faithful
  12. Comfort My People
  13. Bring a Torch
  14. I Wonder As I Wander

International Times for Live Stream

  • Ireland/United Kingdom – 21:00 GMT  UTC
  • Mainland Europe  – 22:00 CET  UTC+1 hour
  • New York (USA – New York)  – 16:00 EST  UTC-5 hours
  • Los Angeles (USA – California) – 13:00 PST  UTC-8 hours
  • Australia. Please note broadcast is on Monday 21st December.
  • Sydney (Australia – New South Wales)  – 08:00 AEDT UTC+11 hours
  • Melbourne (Australia – Victoria) – 08:00 AEDT UTC+11 hours
  • Perth (Australia – Western Australia) – 05:00 AWST UTC+8 hours

Soloists of note

Father Rob Galea has been featured in national newspapers, magazines and TV Shows around the world. He was a contestant in Australia’s 2015 The X Factor and has recorded with several renowned artists such as pop idol Guy Sebastian, Ira Losco, Gary Pinto, Natasha Pinto and several other renowned artists, and has shared the stage with the likes of Matt Maher, Hillsong United and Darlene Zschech. After being selected to sing and write the English version of the official 2019 song Here I Am, The Servant of The Lord and the 2016 World Youth Day song Blessed are the Merciful, and the international version of the official 2008 World Youth Day song, Receive the Power, Fr Rob entered the realm of the cast of musicians having performed in some key events before an estimated single live audience of 1,000,000 people. Whilst based in the Parish of St Kilians Bendigo Fr Rob serves as a chaplain to the Catholic College (High School), local LaTrobe University campus and also is the founder and serving director FRG Ministry. Fr Rob Galea has a significant evangelistic and outreach ministry, speaking and singing at schools, conferences and churches around Australia and the world.

Sarah Hart is one of the leading figures in contemporary Catholic music today. Her songs of faith and workshops have touched the lives of thousands. Originally from Lancaster, Ohio, she has a degree in music from Ohio State University. Now based in Nashville, she’s on the road a good part of the year, juggling a busy songwriting, recording, concert and event schedule.

Many of her songs are part of the common worship experience of Catholics in the US: “Go in Peace,” “You Alone,” “Sweet Redeemer” and others. Her signature blend of folk, pop and rock delights listeners of every age. She has just delivered Sacrament, her 10th collection.

Her nine other albums as a solo artist, include Til the Song Is Sung, and Above Earth’s Lamentation. Her songs have been covered by Amy Grant, Celtic Woman, Matt Maher, Jason Crabb and The Newsboys. Grant’s recording of “Better Than a Hallelujah” earned Hart a Best Gospel Song Grammy nomination.

In October of 2013, she was invited to perform for Pope Francis and a crowd of 150,000 in St. Peter’s Square. Sarah lives in Nashville with her husband and daughters.

ENDS

Further information and media interviews: Ian Callanan + 353 (86) 249 0779.