Soprano Stories - Brigid Hickey

Submitted by huw on Sat, 05/27/2023 - 16:59
Brigid on the beach

My musical started when I was about six or seven years. Being Irish, there was a good deal of singing in our homes. It was the main means of entertainment - song, verse and dance. My father's used to sing, his favourite being Galway Bay. He also played harmonica very well, as good as Larry Adler in my opinion at the time. My greatest impression was, when I went to the wake of my mother's cousin. My mother and family were invited to the ‘Wake and High Tea’ afterwards. Just as the tea finished, mother's cousin slipped away upstairs and came back in this beautiful green satin dress and sang Amazing Grace amongst many other well-known songs. I was in awe at the sound of her beautiful voice and the confidence with which she sang. I thought, I want to do that one day.

Since the age of ten I've sung in school choirs. We had yearly summer Plain Chant competitions in churches in our county, and had a succession of wins. Our biggest claim to fame was when John O'Sullivan, conductor of The Radio Éireann Light Symphony Orchestra, came to conduct us. It was my final year in primary school and we won that year too.

I did take piano lessons but gave up after Grade 2 due to the temperament of my teacher; something I regret to this day. 

I joined our local amateur dramatic society at 15 years, mostly song and dance. I joined church choir and have been singing in church choirs mostly since then, except during my nurse training. I've been singing in our church for over 35 years and have been fortunate to have had some very influential leaders, singing some glorious motets.

In terms of my musical taste, some favourite pieces are Mozart’s Ave Verbum Corpus, Panis Angelicus, God So Loved the World by Stainer, and Be Peace on Earth by William Crotch. I’ve loved most of what we’ve done with the Royston Choral Society, including Haydn’s Creation.

I love most music apart from heavy metal. I particularly like Freddie Mercury and Montserrat Caballé, and Van Morrison, and many more!

At my funeral I’d like the hymn Be Still My Soul