The oldest singers in town

By Holly Furlong

Tonight we sing. Our programmes are printed, our posters are hung around campus, Christmas is coming and the choral gowns are ready to be donned. The Michaelmas Concert has arrived. Presenting “Hodie”, “Serenade to Music”, “Fantasia on Christmas Carols” and “Willow Wood” by the British composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, the University of Dublin Choral Society are excited to be taking to the stage again at 8pm in the Exam Hall November 24 and November 25.

The weekday, and occasional weekend, rehearsals, though sometimes tiring, have always been enjoyable. Similarly, the practical organisation of the concert, was often a rather time-consuming challenge, but thankfully the society’s committee are committed still.

As the oldest choir in Trinity, having been founded in 1837, the society itself is hardly new to the challenges and pleasures of performance. The society in fact has had the honour of being the first to perform many major Choral pieces in Ireland including Bach’s B Minor Mass in 1908 and Verdi’s Requiem in 1876. This term brings us right up to the twentieth century. The performance of “Willow Wood” will mark the 36th Irish premiere for Choral, and the concert will also see only the third ever performance of “Hodie” in the country.

The society maintains a tradition of wearing academic gowns for concerts, and performs in the Public Theatre in College. The choir rehearses for nine weeks prior to the concert each Wednesday evening under the baton of our conductor, David Leigh. Astonishingly, the society has only had eleven conductors throughout the entirety of its 173-year history. Among these are Sir Robert Prescott Stewart, Dr George Hewson, and Dr Joseph Groocock.

This term to we will be working with the Campanile Consort, a choir organised by the School of Music, and the St Patrick’s Cathedral Girls Choir. The soloists for the concert are Aoife O’Connell, Eugene Ginty, and Eoghan Desmond. Aoife and Eoghan are both students of the College. Although it’s now too late for new members to join and sing in our upcoming concert, we do invite anyone interested to sign up in January for our Hilary Term performance of Verdi’s Requiem, in the Grand Canal Theatre.

How many people can say they’ve performed on the same stage as such greats as Christy Moore and Maroon 5? But for the moment, the choir has been put to the test, but with a helpful hand from our conductor David Leigh, that pesky lydian mode has been brought to the heel. Nine weeks of song behind us, two nights of song ahead, we’re about to lift the roof again.