The rising of the sun and the running of the deer
The playing of the merry organ, Sweet singing in the choir
|Cathedral Choir October 2011 Presentation of award to member Anna Monahan|
Duo Hush be Still Austrian Carol
In a Manger Polish Carol
Lo How a Rose Praetorius
Choir Silent Night, Gruber
The Holy City Weatherly /Stepehen Adams soloist Tony Murray
Carol of the Bells Leontovich
Duo Ave Maria Caccini
Don Oiche Ud i mBeithil trad
Gathering Hymn Adeste Fidelis
Away in a Manger Andrea
Once In Royal David's City Duo +organ
Mass parts Joncas, Lecot, Deiss, O' Carroll
Psalm: Tonight a Saviour has been born to us Ronan McDonagh cantor Helen Minogue
Jesu Joy of Man's Desiring Duo
Oh Holy Night Cappeau/Adolphe Adam
For Unto Us A Child is Born Handel
Hark the Herald
|Cathedral delegation at ClareFM studio 23rd Dec|
|Quavers and semiquavers Helen, Gertrude|
Christmas is inevitably a busy time for church choristers. The Ennis Cathedral Choir has been associated with liturgy in St Peter and Paul's Cathedral for over a century beginning under the direction of Belgian musician, Charles, 'Mons' Nono who arrived in Ennis in 1859 and today is a 40 strong adult mixed voice choir, roughly of the proportions of 3:1 women to men. The choir is currently directed by Michael Hennessy with Leon Walsh as principal organist. The growth of the choir continued under the direction of Ernest de Regge who came to Ireland from Belgium after World War 1 and was choir director for about 35 years until his death in tragic circumstances in 1958 . The cathedral choir is a welcoming ensemble for liturgically inclined singers and musicians and members are drawn from a range of nationalities, including French, German, Slovakian and Chilean .
I joined a delegation from Ennis Cathedral at ClareFM studios to talk about the choir's seasonal liturgical activities to John Cooke of Morning Focus the station's flagship current affairs magazine programme. My favourite moment in the interviews(links below) was hearing Michael Cullinan talk about his experience of being in the choir from the age of 9 years under Ernest de Regge. No doubt, he could fill a whole programme with the changes within the cathedral milieu alone that he has seen in the five decades since. Following the broadcast the delegation adjourned to the Food Emporium where we enjoyed coffee and buns compliments of our host and gave an impromptu recital of seasonal repertoire. We were joined by Michael Grogan from Scariff who played some tunes on my viola. It was all -well very Christmassy with whatever inhibitions we might have had suspended by the buzz of goodwill and the oxygen of publicity following our radio encounter.
|Coffee time carols at the Food Emporium|
|Morning Focus studio secs to airtime|
|Gallery Quartet: Roisin, Me, Michael, Leon|
On Christmas Eve, I was joined in the gallery by violinist Roisin McMullin to play some duet arrangements of a carol selection as a prelude to the choral aspects of the evening vigil Mass . With the invited guest soloist indisposed, tenor Tony Murray stepped in to sing the solo parts of the traditional choral favourites. The Holy City is a great sing for the choir, the melody composed by Stephen Adams to words by Frederic Weatherly, best known for the lyrics of the WW1 sentimental ballad, Roses of Pickardy. Coincidentally, I note that his near namesake Frenchman, Adolphe Adam, wrote the melody for another big item on the programme, Cantique de Noel aka Oh Holy Night , a perennial favourite in Clare and the world over .
|Tremendous Tenors Sean Ruane, and Tony Murray|
St Peter and Paul's Cathedral is a very elegant ecclesiastical space at any time but illuminated by candlelight and adorned with the the symbols of Advent and Christmastide, it is a beautiful seductive interior for all to gather and encounter the concepts of friendship, community, gratitude and transcendence through the rituals of liturgy and choral singing.
Clare Noel Canticles For more on Clare's Oh Holy Nights