Installation

It’s an important night in the cathedral tonight, as we have the installation service for our new Dean, the Venerable Dermot Dunne.

Admission to the service is by ticket only, and we’re expecting a big crowd. There’ll be representatives from the diocese, and from across the southern province too – and a lot of extra seating has already been laid out to cope with the expected number of people.

Both the cathedral choir and girls choir are singing in tonight’s service at 8.00pm, which will an expanded form of Choral Evensong. Some of the music for the service was also chosen by the new dean.

  • Introit: Bruckner Locus Iste
  • Responses: Rose
  • Canticles: Leighton Collegium Magdalenae Oxoniense
  • Anthem: Purcel O God thou art my God
  • Motet: Rose Surely thou hast tasted
  • Voluntary: Langlais Fte

Half Term

There’s nothing happening on the musical front this week, as the cathedral choir are on a half-term break. We get a week’s holiday in the middle of every term, which is a welcome rest – especially this term, after a very busy Trinity Sunday (our patronal festival) weekend.

Last Friday we performed our annual summer concert called Let All The World In Every Corner Sing to a modest but appreciative audience. And then at evensong on Sunday we sang the world premier of Laus Trinitati, a piece specially commissioned from the famous organist and composer David Briggs.

A fair number of the music department seem to have taken this opportunity to get away for a few days, but I’ve still got my day job to go to, so I’m still in Dublin. However, I do have an excess of free time available on evenings and at the weekend, which is a novelty.

Auditionees

Over the last couple of weeks, there’s been quite a few auditionees visiting Dublin and spending some time with the cathedral choir. It’s great to see that the Gap Year Scheme has yielded such a large amount of interest, and we certainly have found several really good singers for next year.

It’s just a shame that we can’t take everyone. When people visit – especially those coming over from England for a weekend – we generally try to look after them, and show them a ‘good time’. As well as the audition itself with our director of music, the auditionees will generally be asked to sing with the rest of the choir in some of the weekend’s services. And we generally take people out to the pub after evensong, and also out to lunch on Sunday.

This time spent with the choir is great for assessing whether a person will ‘fit in’ with everyone – as well as, hopefully, giving the auditionees a flavour of life in Dublin. They also get to ask questions about what we do, and start to get to know people.

The problem comes, however, when you start to make friends with some of these people; not knowing whether or not they’ll actually take up a place in the choir. With any group of people, there’ll always be one or two that you naturally gravitate too, and get to like. But they might not be the ones who get offered a place – and conversely, they might get offer a place, but decide not to join.

In the last 2 weeks we’ve seen 9 auditionees, and have a few more still to go. And I guess only time will tell which of them will end up joining the choir in September.

I’m ready for my close-up

Some rather exciting news is beginning to leak out this morning regarding the cathedral choir. It seems that a TV production company that makes documentaries for RTÉ is going to make a fly-on-the-wall series about the Christ Church choir.

For the next 2-3 months we’re going to have camera crews watching our every move – attending rehearsals, meetings, and all the sung services in the cathedral. As well, a small selection of the choir (presumably some of our more colourful ‘characters’) will be filmed at home and at work outside the cathedral.

This is obviously a very big deal, and will have a significant impact upon the cathedral, in terms of raising its profile as a tourist attraction, and financially (both the cathedral and all those taking part will be getting paid!). It will mean an awful lot of disruption, but hopefully it will be a lot of fun too. As a choir, of course, this will be a great opportunity to raise our profile and attract some new singers.

Update: I should probably add that this story is, of course, a complete fabrication. April Fool!

Carol service

I’m a bit sick of Christmas carols. Tonight was the second of our two carol services at the cathedral.

On Sunday afternoon we had a couple of hundred people at our Five Lessons and Carols, and tonight we had a full house of about 500 folk for the diocesan Nine Lessons and Carols. This comes on top of the sell-out Christmas concert last Wednesday night.

It’s great to sing for such large congregations, particularly in comparison with some mid-week Evensongs where we only get a handful or people. But with so many people in the congregation, the music does get very loud.

In some of the congregational carols this evening, our organist was joined by two trumpets and a set of timps, which on top of all the singers, was a deafening sound.

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