Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Choirs and antiphons

On Tues, I was on the road early to mke the most of a day at the annual Irish Church Music Summer School held in the leafy NUI Maynooth campus. An annual event which usually clashes with the Willie Clancy Summer School, both schools seemed to have been running successfully pretty much along the lines of the original formula for four decades.

The guest director was Christopher Walker who is a director of music in an LA parish and he had some interesting anecdotes to relate about presiding over the funeral music of stars, Frank Sinatra to name one. He is perhaps best known here as arranger of the evergreen and hugely popular Fintan O Carroll Alleluia. I was interested to hear he does not allow for the most part, use of secular songs during the Liturgy and no, believe it or not, Frank didn't go out to My Way.

I attended Giovanni Feeleys Plainchant tutorial and it was interesting and informative and an area I would like to explore further.

Tom Kendzia is a frequent visitor to Ireland and the summer school and fills the gospel bill. While he had a warm and engaging presence, I could not whole heartedly embrace the material finding it a bit repetitive and juvenile. There was an element of musical theatre about his sequences that didn't appeal to me for liturgical purposes.

There was some lovely material chosen for the evening Eucharist and most of it worked quite well even if the last number went a little awry.

I was delighted to meet some old aquaintances and make some new contacts. The Jeffers, Pere and son, piano experts from Bandon were present to advise on all matters organ related. Fiona Walsh of Ennis Gospel Choir was the only other familiar Ennis face. I met Mary Duffy of Liscannor Singers and I had a great chat with Betty Cleary, aunt of cellist, Annette Cleary. I met Maureen Maughan from Enniscrone and Agnes ? Director of Music at Loughrea Cathedral.

The evening came to a close with evening prayer at St Mary's C of I church .The music for this was not particularly inspiring but the setting is lovely. We had an adress from Tim, a rather handsome member of interchurch Ecumenism Committee . Tending towards broad generalisations, his adress was a little vague in places. He spoke a little about his involvement as founder of Discovery Gospel Choir. The f word was mentionned (fusion) When he asked if we were were ready to embrace the Holy Spirit in our liturgies, it wasn't quite clear if he was equating this with a readiness to embrace Gospel Music.

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