"We Will Be Strong" was not only the title of the song Brendan Keeley recorded in O'Connor Park in Tullamore last Sunday; it was an attitude. Over 2,000 people braved the extreme weather conditions of the day in order to be part of the Tullamore singer's "Song for Ireland" initiative that aims to inspire Ireland's citizens into the future.
"I think we got the worst day of weather that came," Brendan, who visited 82 schools to teach students lyrics over the past number of weeks, said after the event. "You wouldn't put the dog out on a day like that."
With no expectation of numbers who would attend the mass recording, Brendan and his team prepared to cope with anything from a small crowd to a full stand of 7,000. While Brendan says he was disappointed with the weather, the same couldn't be said of his singing guests.
A Saturday night storm made way for sleet, snow, hail, wind and rain on Sunday morning. "Everything that could possibly fall out of the sky fell out of it that day," Brendan said. As the appointed recording time of 3pm approached however, so too did a crowd of enthusiastic locals ready to sing their hearts out. The support helped ease Brendan's nerves too. "I was terrified," he says of the hours prior to the recording. "I didn't know what was going to happen. I didn't know if anyone was going to come."
After the crowds were settled the singing began in earnest. Brendan was introduced by the now famous Henry Healy, while special guest on the day was Brendan's actor son Sam. The wind certainly made things more of a challenge than they would have been otherwise however, with one otherwise perfect take disrupted when the wind blew a cymbal over next to a microphone.
Producer Brian Shiels of Brytestar Productions recorded last Sunday's proceedings in six takes. Brendan said he's hoping to have a mix of the song that will benefit St Vincent de Paul by Friday, while a launch is expected by the end of February. "Really the game only begins now after the recording is done," Brendan explained.