Ailing P.E.I. father to accompany daughter to Irish singing school

A teenage Charlottetown singer says spending a week at a singing summer school in Ireland will be a way for her to expand her knowledge in choral music.

Nigel Armstrong will travel to Ireland despite late-stage cancer

Siobhan Armstrong and her father Nigel will travel to Ireland in early June where Siobhan will take part in an international music school. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)

A teenage Charlottetown singer says spending a week at a summer singing school in Ireland will be a way for her to expand her knowledge in choral music. 

It is also a special time to spend with her father Nigel, who is in the late stages of prostate cancer.

Siobhan Armstrong, a 15-year-old student at Stonepark Intermediate will attend the 2018 Anúna International Summer School next month. 

"It's a camp to teach you all about the style of singing known as sean nós," said the teen. "It's a traditional Irish type of singing — it's a very pure and lovely soft type of singing in my opinion." 

Anúna is determined to keep the style of singing alive, the student added. 

Early talent

Siobhan's father said they learned about the ​Anúna choir when it played at the Indian River Festival in 2013 and offered a free workshop.

"We took Siobhan there, she was a wee little thing in all these grownups," he said. "They loved her name, they remembered her incredible tone and voice and we've just stayed in touch." 

Siobhan, who has been singing since she was five, said she spends an average of five hours a week singing depending on the number of shows. 

"I'm in the Confederation Youth Chorus, this is my fourth year and they've given so many great opportunities." 

She said the youth chorus has been a huge part of her life and it's the reason she's going to Ireland. 

"I've made so many good friends in that choir and I've been able to experience so many new things and so many cultures and develop myself vocally." 

Special trip

After she was accepted into the singing school the family had to raise $4,000 for father and daughter to make the trip. 

"It's really special to have my dad with me because he's currently suffering with cancer and we really don't know how much time he really does have left." 

She said it was important to have him there to hear her sing in a place they normally wouldn't visit. 

"It's really special in that way." 

Siobhan Armstrong will attend the Anúna school to improve her choral skills. (Katerina Georgieva/CBC)
The young singer credits her father for his unwavering support of her singing and all that it involves. 

"I wanted to go and support but I'm suffering, I'm quite late stage prostate cancer so we're kind of on the last stages." 

In order to make the trip, he has begun to undergo chemotherapy to help keep the cancer at bay a bit longer. 

"We're going to go just as quick as we can to make it happen." 

Armstrong said he wants to thank the community for its support through a GoFundMe campaign. 

"This is entirely community driven," he said. "We couldn't have done it without them. We are very fortunate." 

Siobhan plans to continue singing and to one day tour with an all-girls chorus. 

"It's brought so much joy and so much happiness to my life and I want to give other people that opportunity." 

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With files from Katerina Georgieva