This festival first came to my attention somehow around this time last year right after the 2008 festival had just wrapped up in Cork. That in mind I was determined not to miss out this year so I headed for Cork on Saturday to sample some of the choral action to be had in the country’s fairest city.
I went along to the Fleischmann Trophy competiton on Saturday, the major prize on offer at the festival. The calibre of performances from the choirs was amazing as was the range of people involved on stage. Personal highlights included ‘Ett liv for mig’ performed by Finnish group Chamber Choir Gallerie and ‘Elijah Rock’ by Irish choir Codetta. Gothenburg Youth Choir gave a fantastic energetic performance to end the evening including a finger-clicking version of ‘Chili Con Carne‘. For something a bit lighter and to satisfy my more jazzy & modern tendencies in all things choral I popped into the National Competition for Light, Jazz and Popular Music on Sunday afternoon where some delightful performances given. Highlights for me were ‘The Impossible Dream‘ by Portadown Male Voice Choir, ‘The Teddy Bears Picnic‘ by Moy Singers from Co.Mayo and ‘Unchained Melody‘ by City of Cork Male Voice Choir. The closing gala concert on Sunday gave many of the choirs who took part in the Fleischmann Trophy competition a chance to let their hair down & have some fun and that they did for a really awesome evening of music. Sadly the camera battery failed to hold out for long enough to capture them all. Probably the most bizarre performance of the festival for me was Warsaw School of Economics Choir with their take on ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit‘. Highlights for me were the Slovenia’s Ptuj Male Chamber Choir take on ‘Happy Together‘, Cois Claddaigh with ‘Loch Lomond‘, Codetta once again with ‘Elijah Rock‘, Cantilena Children’s Choir singing ‘Molly Malone‘, Fleischmann Trophy winners Kammerchor I Vocalisti with the hair-raising ‘Pseudo-Yoik‘ and finally Brigham Young University Singers (U.S.A.) with their jaw-dropping rendition of ‘Leonardo Dreams of His Flying Machine‘. I’m delighted to see they’re on tour in the UK & Ireland over the next 2 weeks. This is deserving of a blog post all by itself so watch this space
Overall, it was a fantastic experience in Cork, if too short. I’d love to have taken in more of the festival – there were so many different performances on offer over the 5 days and many of them free of charge too! At the risk of sounding cliched or corny, it really hit me how music can bring people from all walks of life & parts of the world together in a happy, warm, positive & supportive collective. There was such a buzz about City Hall for the performances, all the choirs cheering each other on & getting along famously & enjoying each others’ culture.
I’ve got a bunch of videos from the Closing Gala Concert and the National Competition for Light, Jazz and Popular Music on YouTube – apologies for the awful quality of the camera work but it’s getting a taste of the sound that matters! I can’t wait for next year