A very talented group of singers from Carrickfergus are refusing to rest on their laurels despite completing a remarkable hat-trick.
Carrickfergus Grammar School Choir was successful in the RTÉ Lyric FM Choir for Christmas 2013 competition. This is the third year in a row that the North Road singers have won the Secondary School category of the contest.
The choir received €500 for its effort and the performance also featured on Niall Carroll’s Classical Daytime show.
The RTÉ Lyric FM Choir for Christmas competition is now in its 15th year and has entries from throughout the island of Ireland with well over 100 choirs taking part.
In 2011, Carrickfergus Grammar was awarded Best Overall Performance, including adult choirs, and as a result was offered the opportunity to record four favourite festive choral works with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, conducted by David Brophy. The contributions were: ‘See, Amid the Winter’s Snow’, ‘Tomorrow Shall Be My Dancing Day’, ‘The Holly and the Ivy’, and ‘Still, Still, Still”. They were released on the album ‘Choirs for Christmas’ in 2012.
The choir is directed by Edward Craig and its strong ethos of non-selective membership is drawn from throughout the school.
The recent achievement is further reward for the choir which has also triumphed at other music and choral festivals.
During 2013 it was also awarded the single best performance of all choirs at Bangor International Choral Festival. The adjudicator, Stuart Barr, is an expert in all things vocal, directing choirs, teaching singing, working with British Voice Association and being musical director for Dame Shirley Bassey; most recently conducting her orchestra at the Oscars in Los Angeles.
Awarding the young singers a top festival mark of ‘outstanding’ he applauded their ability to get inside the music and make it their own as well as being incredibly technically proficient.
“A beautifully expansive sound...full of energy...musically more than just disciplined...I felt you absolutely understood the music and gave it to us,” were some of the comments he made.
The choir broadcasts regularly and members enjoy going away together on tour. This has given the young people the opportunity to sing in many magnificent venues in countries including France, Holland, England, Scotland and Ireland.
In March they will travel to the Czech Republic to take part in the Prague Youth Music Festival.