ICA news: Happy times for tuneful Bree members


A 19th century song about hard times performed by Bree Guild won the top prize in Wexford’s ICA Has Got Talent competition.

Bree ICA secretary Josephine O’Reilly says ‘Hard Times Come Again No More’ was written by Stephen C Foster in 1845 during a time of recession .

“It’s about thinking of those less fortunate while we’re doing ok. It’s about boom and bust, when the poor didn’t gain much from the boom and suffered most in the bust. Even though it’s an old parlour song with old-fashioned words, we felt it reflected modern life. It’s very relevant in terms of what has gone on in our country.”

She adds that some say the song is about the Irish Famine and about the many survivors who emigrated.

Josephine, along with Betty Kelly, Brigid Kinsella, Maisie Kennedy, Margaret Doyle and Breda Cahill, sang the song.

Their musical director, Margaret Sheehan, accompanied them on keyboard when the won the first round in Oulart. At the final, they were accompanied by Ann Dunne on guitar.

“Myself and two others in Bree Church Choir sang it for the harvest thanksgiving at a Gathering event. We thought it quite a haunting song – it just seemed to get us,” says Josephine, adding that the ladies – dressed in white and green with long skirts to their ankles – never expected to win.

The ladies had great fun rehearsing. “We spent a few hours practising in my home. We never thought we’d win. We just thought we’d enjoy the competition and let it go at that. Imagine our surprise when it hit all the right notes.”


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