Déise Aid plans to donate proceeds from the CD to suicide awareness service Pieta House in Waterford and to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital in Crumlin.
The Dungarvan performers have retained the song title ‘Do They Know It’s Christmas’ but altered the 1984 lyrics to make them relevant to the chosen charities, including the chorus line to “ease the worries”.
Offering hope and support for those suffering depression in the festive season, one line reads: “There is no pain like the pain of suicide.”
Elsewhere, the song reflects “the Christmas bells that ring there; Are the clanging chimes of gloom” but “tonight we are reaching out to comfort you”.
The venture took just over a week to execute. On a Thursday afternoon, actor Kris Cowming experienced a ‘Geldof’ moment while watching the song performed on television. He decided a similar effort could raise money for charity at home.
The 36-year-old recruited the support of Dungarvan drama group Curtain Call where fellow member Fidelma Meaney negotiated, for a modest fee, the rights to the song.
Through the drama group and a Facebook appeal, he recruited 45 singers, who ranged in age from his four-year-old daughter Emily to a 65-year-old.
Kris also enlisted his own Midge Ure in the guise of local musician John Stack, who reshaped the lyrics and whose singing and recording experience reportedly “gave everyone confidence”.
Within days, they undertook a singular rehearsal session in Dungarvan Town Hall and, three days later, the decks were cleared at Youghal’s Claycastle Studios where the performers laid down 18 solo lines followed by the chorus, under the expert guidance of owner /engineer Warren Tivy.
Kris says he “cannot praise everyone enough, especially as many of them had never sang anywhere before, let alone in front of a microphone”.
The CD, at a modest sum. is available across west Waterfod, Dungarvan, and Waterford City.
A video recording of the session by local multimedia tutor Kieran McCarthy will shortly be available on YouTube and Facebook.