Sunday 24 March 2019,
St. Patrick’s Cathedral

The Concert

DateSunday 23 March
AddressSt Patrick's Cathedral, Wood Quay, Dublin 8

One of the aims of the Dublin International Choir Festival is to provide a uniquely Irish experience to visiting choirs and to forge connections between the performers. In this concert, choirs will present works from their repertoire. But we up the ante as choirs will unite and perform two choruses from Handel’s Messiah, along with the ever-classic Danny Boy by Frederic Weatherly.

The Orchestra of Ireland and choirs will be conducted by Ireland’s own extraordinary David Brophy. Participating choirs will be Classic Harmony; ChoirFire; First Congregational Church; Huron High School A Cappella Choir and Bel Canto Choir; Valdez High School Choir.

The Choirs

Barbara Thomson Organist

Organist Barbara Thomson has been critically acclaimed for her technique, musicianship, and ability to communicate. She has concertized across the United States and Europe, including performances at the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris, and in Austria, Germany, Italy, Holland, and Yugoslavia. In the United States, she has played at Lincoln Center, Trinity Church Wall Street, the Riverside Church in New York, the Cathedral Basilica in Newark, the Kennedy Center and the National Presbyterian Center in Washington, DC, as well as many other noted venues. She has performed with the Westfield Symphony Orchestra, the New Jersey Festival Orchestra, and the Peabody Symphony, was a founder of and performer in the North Jersey Bach Festival, and recorded for Voice of America, Radio Bremen (Germany), Spectrum Records, and Vermont Public Radio.

A former professor at a number of universities, Dr. Thomson graduated Phi Beta Kappa from the Pennsylvania State University with a double major in organ performance and theory/composition. She has a Master of Music degree from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, NY, a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, further study at the Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst in Vienna, and post-doctoral work in choral conducting at Westminster Choir College.
Dr. Thomson is Voorhees Chapel organist at Rutgers University, Organist and Director of Music at the First Congregational Church of Westfield, and Organist at the Monmouth Reform Temple in Tinton Falls, NJ.
“…vital and compelling artistry.  This is one organist worth hearing!” Michael Redmond, Newark Star Led

Choirfire Ensemble

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

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.

Huron High School A Cappella Choir and Bel Canto Choir

The Ann Arbor Huron High School Choral Program was founded by Ruth E. Datz in 1968, when the school was opened.  Over the past 50 years the choirs have upheld the highest standard of excellence, receiving superior ratings on a consistent basis at both district and state choral events.   The Huron Choral program consists of four curricular choirs, an extra-curricular chamber choir, and four pop a cappella choirs.

The A Cappella Choir, under the director of Kent Wattleworth, and Bel Canto Choir, under the director of Bonnie Kidd, are the two advanced curricular choral ensembles offered at Huron High School.   The Huron Choirs have been invited to appear at festivals, conferences, and competitions both nationally and internationally. A Cappella Choir has completed eight international tours and Bel Canto Choir has completed five international tours.  

First Congregational Church Choir

The Chancel Choir of the First Congregational Church of Westfield, New Jersey sings for regular services at the church, and, as part of the Festival Chorus, performs a program of choral masterpieces twice a year. The choir is directed by Dr. Barbara Thomson who has been the Director of Music at the First Congregational Church of Westfield since 1985.

Classic Harmony

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 Orchestra of Ireland

The Orchestra of Ireland (An Ceolfhoireann na hÉireann) is an Irish based orchestra consisting of Ireland’s leading and most talented musicians. The Orchestra has had the privilege to play or record with the worlds leading contemporary artists.

Concerts and Recordings have included:
JMV Foundation recording’s of Victor Herbert’s Operetta “Eileen”, Jerome Kern’s “Roberta” & Rodgers & Hart’s “Dearest Enemy. Jose Carreras, in concert. Katherine Jenkins, in concert. George Michael, in concert. Composers Stephen Rennicks (Rosie, Soundtrack Recording). Javier Naveratte (Neill Jordan’s “GRETA” Soundtrack Recording), Marti Pellow (Wet Wet Wet). Ed Sheeran, Celtic Thunder, Celtic Woman (Grammy Nominated), Ceol 2011, Vicar St. Dublin. Ray Manzarek & Bobby Krieger of “The Doors”. Star Wars, World Tour. Paul Potts Irish Tour 2010. Bill Bailey’s Remarkable Guide to the Orchestra Irish Tour. Video Games Live” “Concert Performances”.. Andrea Bocelli, Dublin Concerts. Celine Byrne, Paul Byrom & Órla Fallon PBS Recordings. Composer’s: Bill Whelan & Brendan Graham “Concert Performance”,, Patrick Cassidy “Concert Performance”, Stephen McKeon ”Niko 2 Little Brother, Big Brother” “The Dunnes
Stores Christmas Advert 2019” (Soundtrack), Liam Bates “Last Passanger” , “Noel” (Soundtrack recordings), Dean Valentine “Viking” (Soundtrack), Colm O Foghlu, Shaun Davey “Concert Performance”,, Fiachra Trench “Van Morrison” (Soundtrack),, Sharon Shannon “Concert Performances” The Pope’s visit to Ireland (Croke Park TV Concert).

The Venue

Saint Patrick’s Cathedral (Irish: Ard-Eaglais Naomh Pádraig) in Dublin, Ireland, founded in 1191, is the National Cathedral of the Church of Ireland. With its 43-metre (141 ft) spire, St. Patrick’s is the tallest church in Ireland and the largest. Christ Church Cathedral, also a Church of Ireland cathedral in Dublin, is designated as the local Cathedral of the diocese of Dublin and Glendalough.

Unusually, St Patrick’s is not the seat of a bishop, as the Archbishop of Dublin has his seat in Christ Church Cathedral. Since 1870, the Church of Ireland has designated St Patrick’s as the national cathedral for the whole of Ireland, drawing chapter members from each of the twelve dioceses of the Church of Ireland. The dean is the ordinary for the cathedral; this office has existed since 1219. The most famous office holder was Jonathan Swift.

There is almost no precedent for a two-cathedral city, and some believe it was intended that St Patrick’s, a secular (diocesan clergy who are not members of a religious order, i.e. under a rule and, therefore, “regular”) cathedral, would replace Christ Church, a cathedral managed by an order.

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