Magical Evening as Children Sing Out at Dublin & Glendalough National Schools Choir Competition
Almost 300 children filled Christ Church Cathedral with magical music on Sunday evening (April 2) for the inaugural Dublin & Glendalough National Schools Choir Competition 2017. The cathedral was packed to capacity for the event which saw 10 national school choirs taking part from all corners of the dioceses. Every child put their heart and soul into their performance and the choirs sang a wide variety of music from traditional airs and sacred music to Queen, Frank Sinatra and Coldplay.
The overall winners of the first ever Diocesan National Schools Choir Competition were Sandford National School directed by Aishling Bridgeman. They sang ‘Swing Low Sweet Chariot’ (Trad) and ‘Fix You’ (Coldplay). They also won the part–singing section of the competition.
The category for choirs singing in unison was won by St Patrick’s National School, Greystones, directed by Linsey Dempsey. They sang ‘Wade in the Water’ (Trad) and Hope of Heaven (Johnson). Both choirs were presented with Dublin Crystal vases.
The Curate’s Prize was presented to St Catherine’s National School, Donore Avenue who sang ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ (Mercury) and Panis Angelicus (Franck). They were directed by school principal, April Cronin.
All the choirs taking part were presented with a certificate signed by the Patron, Archbishop Michael Jackson.
The standard and quality of all the choirs were extremely high which presented the judges, Dr Kerry Houston, Head of Academic Studies in the DIT Conservatory of Music and Ian Keatley, Director of Music at Christ Church Cathedral, with some very difficult decisions to make.
Announcing the winners, Dr Houston praised the initiative which was part of the Dublin & Glendalough 800th anniversary celebrations. He said singing was the most important part of the primary school music curriculum. “Everyone can sing. Singing is the aspect of music that is most connected to yourself. You are using your own body to connect to yourself,” he said. “There were excellent performances this evening. There was really good communication between the conductors and the children and it has been a very difficult decision… We were so impressed.”
Archbishop Michael Jackson thanked the Revd Eugene Griffin for coming up with the idea for the Dublin & Glendalough 800 celebrations. “The idea of hearing the voices of the present for the future while celebrating the past was a wonderful one. This cathedral lies at the heart of Dublin & Glendalough and the children have come here and made it theirs. I am delighted at the range, enthusiasm, concentration and the sheer power of the voices that came through this evening and the discipline that lies at the heart of it. It was joy to behold. They have shown us something of the enthusiasm that lies at the heart of their schools and the life of these dioceses.
The Revd Eugene Griffin explained the background to the competition which is part of a series of celebrations marking the 800th anniversary of the uniting of the dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough. “We are celebrating 800 years together by not only looking back but looking forwards,” he said. “Some of the schools taking part formed their choirs specially for this competition and this alone is validation enough. They all sang wonderfully and with their own individual style.”
The other schools taking part were Primrose Hill National School, Celbridge; Rathfarnham Parish National School; Whitechurch National School; Glenageary and Killiney National School; Jonathan Swift National School, Dunlavin; Taney National School; and the Glebe National School, Wicklow.