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Ennis Cathedral choir members in rehearsal. Photograph by John Kelly.

Ennis Cathedral Choir aims to strike chord with new programme

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ENNIS Cathedral Choir Director Fiona Walsh is hopeful a new musical programme launched this month will strike the right note when it comes to reinvigorating cathedral choral singing.

The new Ennis Cathedral programme offers singing opportunities for youngsters, teenagers and adults with Fiona telling us, “We are really trying to elevate the music in the Cathedral and to attract people who really enjoy singing and give them an opportunity to get involved.”

She adds, “A huge amount of choirs couldn’t really operate during Covid, we had music at the Cathedral but this is a way for us to get people back singing together.”

Part of the new programme will be monthly performances at a special Sunday mass of music by the great church composers Mozart, Mozart, Gounod, Hadyn and Jenkins.

Singers interested in joining the choir in delivering this programme are being encouraged to get involved. The adult choir is also actively recruiting 20 male and female teenage voices from first to sixth years.

“In addition to the music, this will be an opportunity to make new friends and have some fun,” says Fiona.

Supporting teenage boys who have a passion for singing the choir is now working with acclaimed opera singer, Dean Power. The Clarecastle tenor will be conducting three free workshops with
Fiona explaining that the workshops will help teenage boys to get the best from their voices as they change.

“Dean is a professional opera singer who performs internationally. A past student of St Flannan’s College and Clarecastle National School where he loved to play hurling he discovered classical music by change in his teens and is delighted to pass it on.”

This September also sees the return of the popular Junior Choir. This is an auditioned choir for boys and girls in third to sixth class who sing once a month at Sunday mass and on other special church occasions.

Ennis Cathedral is one of 27 across Ireland who have come together to elevate the profile of Cathedral music, explains Fiona.

She says there is “excitement” among the choir members who are looking forward to welcoming some new members. “We are already seeing an international flavour which is great. We have had somebody who has sung in New York and London and a young Ukrainian boy who was a member of a good choir in Ukraine.”

She believes that there is plenty of singing potential in Ennis and Clare and is encouraging those interested in taking part to contact the choir.

“There is certainly a lot of talent out there, but it’s generally the idea of the commitment needed that puts people off, not the talent. It’s a different country now and we are increasingly secular.

“Some people might find it difficult to consider attaching themselves to a church choir, that it would be a massive commitment. But for the adults if we got two Sundays a month we would be delighted, and for the children it’s one so we would welcome people to get in touch and I will steer them in the right direction.”

Anybody interested in getting involved can contact choir director Fiona Walsh 087 6886378 or email enniscathedralchoir@gmail.com 

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