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, The Ranelagh Singers and a special appearance by Visionaries Choir – a choir for people who are blind or visually impaired (an initiative of Fighting Blindness).
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.
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 Ranelagh Singers was formed in early 2009 and has been conducted by Rosemary O’Brien from the beginning. Our repertoire ranges from Early Music to the immediate contemporary, and includes a wide variety of the choral repertoire, both sacred and secular.
In 2014 we released our first CD of Christmas carols. We compete regularly in various choral festivals and have enjoyed a number of successes. In 2015, we won the Lombard Murphy Cup for Sacred Music in the Feis Ceoil and were also runners-up in the Mixed Voice competition.
In 2017 we were awarded a Distinction in Choral Singing for Gold Standard Choir by the RIAM and subsequently awarded High Achiever status for the quality of our performance. We have travelled extensively throughout Ireland and abroad, and have performed with many fantastic choirs including the Icelandic choir Selkorinn in June 2017.
In October 2016, we travelled to Sitges in Spain to participate in the Celtic Connexions festival and in September 2017 we took part in Clifden Arts Festival.
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.