Following the huge success of the 2013 inaugural City of Derry International Choral Festival, the five-day event is back again this October with an even bigger and better line-up of choirs from around the globe. Organisers will be welcoming more than seventy choirs taking part in competitions, concerts, performances and workshops on the weekend before Halloween.
The highlight of the weekend will undoubtedly be the International Competition, to be held on Saturday 25th October in the recently refurbished St. Columb’s Hall. This year ten choirs, representing eight countries, will compete for the prestigious “Oak Tree of Derry” trophy, designed by Maurice Harron.
Created as a joyous celebration of choral music-making, the festival provides opportunities for competitive and non-competitive participation for singers across a wide range of styles, ensembles and ages. School, local, national and international choirs are invited to take part in a four-day festival of competitions, concerts, pop-up performances and educational workshops.
The City of Derry International Choral Festival has announced that one of the world’s finest vocal ensembles, The Sixteen, will visit the city this October to open the second edition of the annual choral festival. The Sixteen are a UK-based choir, founded by Harry Christophers CBE in 1977 and hailed as one of the world’s greatest ensembles. The “Voices of Classic FM” have toured throughout Europe, Japan, Australia and the Americas and have been performing at major concert halls and festivals worldwide for more than 30 years.
The festival have also announced international a cappella phenomenon The Swingle Singers as guest artists. The Grammy award-winning UK-based septet, best known for their jazz infused covers of classical favourites (by composers such as Bach, Mozart and Beethoven) and pop music (including songs by Elbow, Florence and the Machine and The Beatles), will perform in the newly refurbished St. Columb’s Hall on Friday 24th October
The festival has also announced an additional day to the already jam-packed programme of events taking place between 23rd – 26th October. On Wednesday 22nd October it will hold its first International Choral Symposium, This one-day symposium will bring together a distinguished international panel of choral directors and leaders to discuss the importance of choral singing, and to explore different approaches to encouraging access, developing skills and providing an enjoyable and rewarding experience for all.
The symposium will take place in St. Columb’s Hall and will feature: presentations by Christopher Bell (National Youth Choir of Scotland), Shane Farrell (Ulster Youth Choir, N. Ireland), Harry Christophers (The Sixteen) and more; the launch of the Contemporary Music Centre, Ireland’s newest Choral Catalogue for Mixed Voices; and performances by local primary and post-primary schools and Utopia & Reality Chamber Choir, Norway.
The day will conclude with a practical workshop led by the Chair of the Adjudication Panel, Ragnar Rasmussen, Professor of Conducting in Tromsø University, Norway. This session will focus on the importance of gesture in conducting, with practical demonstrations by Utopia & Reality Chamber Choir. Applications are now open for participation, and the workshop is open to conductors of any level and any musical style. No advanced preparation is required and participation is free of charge.
Tickets will go on sale for the Opening Gala Concert with The Sixteen and the International Choral Symposium in July. Details will be posted at www.codichoral.com
on Facebook (City of Derry International Choral Festival) and via Twitter (@codichoral).
The provisional timetable for the 2014 festival is as follows:
Wednesday 22nd October
International Choral Symposium
Opening Gala Concert with The Sixteen and Harry Christophers
Thursday 23rd October
Primary school competitions and workshops
Evening Concert with Neil Cowley Trio and Utopia & Reality Chamber Choir
Friday 24th October
Post-primary school competitions and workshops
Evening concert with The Swingle Singers
Saturday 25th October
National competitions for Female Voice, Male Voice, Mixed Voice and Gospel Music (morning and afternoon)
International Competition (evening)
Sunday 26th October
Sacred Trail (morning)
National competitions for Youth choirs and Sacred Music (afternoon)
Closing Gala Concert with awards ceremony (evening)
The Choral Trail will run throughout the weekend in city centre and wider community locations.
It is funded by Derry City Council, the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, DCAL and the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.