Cork International Choral Festival: my thoughts

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 :)

8 thoughts on “Cork International Choral Festival: my thoughts”

  1. Hey Steph,
    this is great! Fantastic to see the clips up on youtube too – such a pity we didn’t get to cross paths, but next year for sure…glad you enjoyed the Fest!

  2. I too was at the final concert. I agree with everything you wrote about the groups–especially the bizare “Teen Spirit”. Highlight for me was the BYU group’s “Leonardo”! I’m still feeling the electricity from that number. I want more of that!

  3. Hi Steph!
    just to thank you for putting up the youtube clips of the Cork ChoralFestival choirs. I sing with Ireland Unlimited so was delighted to have a reminder of our win in Sunday’s Light entertainment ,Jazz etc. competition. It was also great to see some of the other choirs’ performances, ‘cos when you perform you don’t get a chance to see all the competition entrants and all the great musical talent around.
    So thanks again …. keep up the blog … it’s great!

  4. Marianne – wonderful news I haven’t had a chance to blog yet – BYU are doing a gig in Blanchardstown this Tuesday night, Draoicht Theatre! Can’t wait, I was completely bowled over by ‘Leonardo…’ as well.

  5. I too am a member of Irelend Unlimited so many thanks for the video – its always great to share music with others – its such a wonderful hobby to have.

  6. Thanks so much Steph for the video footage of Ireland Unlimited singing The Joint is Jumpin. We are so delighted achieving !st place in the Light Jazz, Barbershop and Popular Music National Competition at the Cork Choral Festival.
    Ireland Unlimited ladies come from as far as Cork, Sligo, Westmeath, Co Galway, Tipperary, Carlow, Wicklow and County, Dublin and County to meet in Kilkenny once a month where we rehearse under the superb direction of Cherry Hartshorn . We so enjoy our wonderful hobby and friendships made within Ireland Unlimited
    Noeleen Chow Secretary of Ireland Unlimited

  7. What a wonderful festival from beginning to end. The closing concert was indeed a night to remember. Yes indeed the BYU Choir performance of ‘Leonardo’ was brilliant. Congratulations also to the PfizerPhonics Choir on winning the award in the contemporary music competition singing a piece by an Irish composer. They sang ‘Incantations’ by Michael McGlynn. This was a great achievement as this was their second year in a row winning this award.
    Their performance of Shenandoah and Eli Eli were outstanding.

Leave a Reply