Above, Mayor Maoliosa McHugh, Artistic Director of the Festival Dónal Doherty and Laura Sheerin Rodriguez, who performed at the launch of the 2017 City of Derry International Choir Festival. Main Image, Laura Sheerin Rodriguez, Derry-born singer, and husband Benito Rodriguez who performed before jetting off to sing together in the New York Metropolitan Opera.
The City of Derry International Choir Festival has launched the full programme of events for its fifth edition, due to take place from Wednesday 25th - Sunday 29th October.
The city will welcome over 50 choirs to take part in concerts, competitions, workshops and community performances across the five day festival, with singers traveling from Denmark, Estonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and throughout Ireland and the UK to take part in the jam-packed schedule of events.
Music lovers will be treated to concerts by award-winning choir and one of the world’s leading vocal ensembles, Tenebrae, Swedish a cappella quintet The Real Group and the young “atmosfolk” duo Saint Sister, who are currently taking the Irish and international music scene by storm with their mix of vocal harmonies, synth and electro-acoustic harp.
The festival will feature an evening gala concert with the newly formed 2017 Festival Chorus, a choir made up of more than 100 singers from many of the local choirs in the city and conducted by Artistic Director of the festival, Dónal Doherty. This brand new ensemble will give a performance of the hugely popular Rutter Gloria and will be joined by award-winning local chamber choir Codetta and the Ulster University Chamber Choir, accompanied by renowned organist Catherine Ennis, in the stunning surroundings of the Guildhall.
Participating choirs will compete in more than 10 categories of competition throughout the festival, including school, equal voice, mixed voice, youth choir, popular, jazz, gospel and sacred music and the highlight of the festival will see seven international competitors battle it out to win the prestigious ‘Oak Tree of Derry’ trophy and a cash prize of £2,000 in the International Competition.
In addition to its impressive evening concert series, the festival will host a number of pop-up performances on its Choral Trail in venues including Foyleside Shopping Centre, The Craft Village, City Hotel, Ollie’s of Ebrington, the Railway Station, Foyle Hospice, Altnagelvin Hospital, Ardnashee School and more on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th October. A number of churches will also host visiting choirs for Sunday service on the morning of Sunday 29th October in the festival’s Sacred Trail.
An exciting new development as part of the fifth edition of the festival will see the launch of a series of conducting masterclasses in partnership with the Ulster University School of Creative Arts and Technologies. Each session will be led by a member of the festival’s international panel of adjudicators with the Chamber Choir of the Ulster University as the resident choir. Sessions will include discussion on choral training, conducting technique, score preparation, repertoire selection and choir management. Applications are now open for participants via derrychoirfest.com.
As well as conducting masterclasses, the festival will host three Big Sing workshops in St. Columb’s Hall for primary schools, post-primary schools and an open session for all on Saturday 28 October. These entertaining and fun workshops explore the building blocks of successful choral singing and are led by inspiring performers from the festival programme.
Fiona Crosbie, Festival Manager, says, “We are very excited to be announcing such a fantastic programme of events for this year’s festival. We have a brilliant line-up of participating choirs who will feature in venues across the city from 25th – 29th October so there’s a chance for everyone to experience the music-making on offer and join in the celebration of singing!”
Tickets are now on sale for all festival events and can be purchased at the Millennium Forum. For all festival details please visit www.derrychoirfest.com.