Choirs & Vocal Harmonies

So you direct choirs?

Yes, among other things. I’m Musical Director of Sandymount Gospel Choir , the Waltons School of Music Sing Your Heart Out Choir and the Portmarnock Singers. Prior to taking on these roles, I was director of the acclaimed Ballymun Gospel Choir, and in the past I’ve conducted choirs as diverse as Gardiner Street Gospel Choir, Rathgar Gospel Choir and the Forever Young Chorus. I also conduct the choir at Waltons New School of Music, , the ‘Sing Your Heart Out Choir’ .

 

 

 

I’ve been employed as choirmaster/vocal arranger for theatre a number of times, including for the Abbey Theatre’s 2011 production of Marina Carr’s 16 Possible Glimpses and RTE Radio One’s award-winning production of Twenty-Seven by Veronica Coburn. In 2009 I conducted the Irish premiere of The Poverty Requiem, a piece composed by Dutch composer Peter Maissan to mark UN Annual World Poverty Day, October 17th.

 

What’s The Gospel Project then? Is it a choir?

It’s a vocal harmony group, or kind of a boiled-down choir. Where a choir has a group of people singing soprano, alto, tenor, bass etc….. The Gospel Project has just one person singing each part, each of whom also plays an instrument (keyboard, flute, guitar, fiddle and percussion). My role as Artistic Director is to lead the ensemble, create our vocal arrangements and handle the administrative side, as well as being a performing member of the group.

We raise the roof at festivals, perform at wedding ceremonies, and write our own original material in the gospel genre. Formed in 2004, we are Ireland’s only professional gospel ensemble and have headlined venues such as the RDS, the Mansion House, the Button Factory (formerly Temple Bar Music Centre), Dunamaise Arts Centre, the Sugar Club, the Moat Theatre, Crawdaddy, and the Phoenix Park. Our debut album, on the outside, was released to critical acclaim in 2009 and our newest single, heard you call my name was released last summer. Click here to enjoy

 

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So where did you learn to do all this?

On the job, mostly. My conducting career started entirely by accident, when the Musical Director of Gardiner Street Gospel Choir became ill in 2002 and with no prior conducting experience I had to stand in for him for a season. Once I got over the shock I realised I had something of an aptitude for the task, and that gave me the confidence to go on and direct a number of choirs of my own. But I do have the following training:

 

I hold a Music degree (honours) from Trinity College, Dublin, and a Masters in Composition from N.U.I. Maynooth.
I was also a student at the Advanced Conductors’ Course, Canford Summer School of Music in 2005 & 2006
and have received additional conducting training as a private student of Robert Houlihan. Like most musicians, I’m always learning, and always striving to develop my skills as a musician and conductor. My most recent bout of self-improvement was in Summer 2016; I received a Travel and Training Award from the Arts Council of Ireland to enable me to attend the BodyMind and Voice Course run by the VoiceCare Network in Minnesota, USA.

See also the Arrangements page.

 

Gospel Project Group 3

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Comments
  1. wendy says:

    Hi Cathy,
    Are your arrangements available to other choirs?
    Thanks!

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