In this first concert of the Dublin International Choral Festival, hosted by Aonghus McAnally, we celebrate various forms of choral music with performances by choirs of all ages. Showcasing the magic of choral singing, Dublin audiences will enjoy the classical and contemporary repertoires of People’s College Choir, Classic Harmony and a special appearance by Visionaries Choir – a choir for people who are blind or visually impaired (an initiative of Fighting Blindness). We welcome from across the waters, two American choirs Valdez High School Choir and ChoirFire who will dazzle our audiences with an eclectic range of American song.
|Valdez High School Choir|
Choirfire is a Colorado based community music school, teaching children 7 – college to sing, with the option to also learn to play guitar or violin.
The Ensemble group has performed in the local community for benefit concerts, schools and churches as well as in choral festivals and missions trips in Italy, Austria, and Uganda. The group performing in the Ireland Choral festival is intergenerational including children, youth and adults who love to sing and meet people from around the world.
Valdez High School Choir is an elective course offered at Valdez High School in Alaska. With a school student population of 180, each choir member is busy in school academics, athletics, and activities and in community groups. The choir performs annually for a fundraising dinner event, a winter and spring concert, and regional and state competitions.
Locally, the choir provides musicians for numerous national anthem performances as well as community Christmas events and Veteran’s Day performances. Valdez High School Choir represented Alaska in the Mass Band and Choir for the 75th Anniversary of Pearl Harbor in December of 2016. In April of 2018, The group received Command Performance in a regional contest of mixed ensembles.
The People’s College Choir is a mixed-voice choir (SATB) of 52 members based in Dublin city centre. It was founded in 1993 as part of the wider cultural programme of courses and subjects offered by the People’s College Adult Education Association, Dublin. The members of the choir come from all parts of Dublin and their wide and varied a capella repertoire reflects their eclectic musical tastes; from madrigals, spirituals, and Irish airs to arrangements of modern popular songs. The choir performs at a variety of functions and concerts and has participated in festivals both at home and abroad (Austria, the Czech Republic, Denmark and Italy). It has hosted choirs from overseas and taken part in choral exchanges with choirs from Spain, France and the UK. The choir is conducted by their musical director, Paul Walsh.
Classic Harmony (formerly the Kelly Family Vocal Ensemble) comes from Ashford in Co. Wicklow. This Vocal Ensemble are all members of one family and have sung together since the young people were very small and now produce a unique blended sound born of our familial relationship. Four out of five members of the group are vision-impaired. Including father, Frank who is a musical director of five choirs in Wicklow and a choir for blind and vision-impaired people in Dublin. The group sings in close harmony, a cappella and with instrumental accompaniment on Piano, Keyboard, Guitar, Harp and Tin Whistle.
Classic Harmony are an award-winning ensemble having won many competitions including the Family Ensemble category at the Feis Ceoil in Dublin three years in a row and second prize at the Derry International Choral Festival in 2016 and 2017. They have appeared on television on RTE, TV3 and TG4 and on national and local radio. They have performed in concerts at local venues, at the National Concert Hall and at venues around the country including, most recently, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Armagh and St. Columba’s Long Tower in Derry.
The Ensemble covers music from a wide range of genres from Classical to Traditional/Celtic and Popular/Jazz styles; and Christmas music from ancient to modern. Follow Classic Harmony on Facebook and Twitter to keep track of their performances, recordings etc.
The Visionaries Choir is a choir for people from 16 years of age upwards, who are blind or visually impaired. The choir, who meet on Saturday mornings in the Fighting Blindness premises at Ely Place in Dublin City from 10:30am to 12:30pm, are always looking to welcome new members into their ranks.
The choir is led by Frank Kelly who has over 40 years’ experience with directing and organising choirs a, ably assisted by his daughter Rebecca who is a music graduate of Maynooth University. Frank and Rebecca are both vision-impaired and they have structured rehearsals specifically to address the needs of people with sight-loss. All the learning is by memory and Frank sends out audio files so that choir members can listen to and rehearse their parts at home during the week.
St Ann’s Parish Church
The church in the heart of the city with the city at its heart
St Ann’s Church on Dawson Street (beside The Mansion House) maintains a very busy city centre ministry dating back to 1707. The clergy are responsible for the pastoral care of two hospitals, the chaplaincy to the Royal College of Surgeons and Dublin Port –– including the Mission to Seafarers Centre in the dock area (open every evening of the year) –– and a considerable parochial ministry.
The church, a much loved place of worship, is also the venue for civic events, lunchtime recitals and evening concerts, as well as being a popular destination for tourists, with upwards of 40,000 visitors annually.