The Mayo International Choral Festival has the distinction of being the only county-wide choral festival in Ireland, and will take the form of 39 International, National and Mayo choirs participating on a competitive and non-competitive basis over five days and nights from Wednesday 24th May to Sunday 28th May.
The festival will include a number of evening and daily county-wide performances, as well as competitions with all events open to a public audience, with many pop-up mini performances on the Songway Choral Trail. Friendship, relaxation and a memorable Mayo experience is ensured. Singers and musicians will perform songs and pieces from many different genres, including jazz, pop, folk, sacred and gospel music.
Choirs from Mayo and local community groups will assist with the coordination of the events. International choirs include, from Bulgaria – Angel Manolov Choir, from England – Voice Point Choir, from Sweden – Cantare Chamber Choir, and from Russia – LYRA Vocal Ensemble.
In total, the choirs taking part are as follows:
Angel Manolov, Bulgaria • Aoide – A Choir For All, Limerick • Athlone A Cappella • Ballina Chamber Choir • Ballinrobe Folk Choir • Ballintubber Abbey Choir • Cantare Chamber Choir, Sweden • Castlebar Gospel Choir • Cavan Rugby Club Male Voice Choir • Cill Aodáin Choral Society • Cór Mhaigh Eo • Enchiriadis, Dublin • Gracenotes, Ballyhaunis • Harmonia, Mayo • Heart’s Desire, Sligo • Lady Barbalade, Dublin • LYRA, Russia, • Mayo Male Voice Choir • Mayo School of Music Youth Choir • Millicent Singers • No Half Measures • Note-Orious 4 • Rejoice Gospel Choir • St Joseph’s Senior Choir, Castlebar • St Joseph’s Gospel Choir, Castlebar • Sing Momma Sing, Westport • Snap!, Sligo/Cork/ Waterford • Sweet Tunes, Mullingar • The Razorsharps, Sligo • Tone Cold Sober, Sligo • The Troubadours, Castlebar • Vocalessence, Castlebar • Vocal Point, England • Westport Children’s Choir • Westport Singers • Westport Youth Choir • Wicklow Male Voice Choir
Cantare Chamber Choir, Sweden, who will perform in the Mayo International Choral Festival at concerts in Ballina (Thurs 25th) and Ballyhaunis (Fri 26th).
Once again, the highlight of the festival, The Saturday Night Gala Concert will take place at GMIT, Castlebar. This event features all of the winning choirs of the competitions, and is a really spectacular and enjoyable night of music. Special guests on the night is the A Cappella quartet LYRA, from St Petersburg in Russia. The end of the concert will see all attending choirs (and audience members!) join together to sing the very last song of the evening and this is truly a joy to experience live.
LYRA Vocal Ensemble, St Petersburg, Russia, who will perform at the Gala Concert, GMIT, Castlebar Sat 27th May as part of the Mayo International Choral Festival
The festival continues to honour Mayo’s heroes and heroines in song and music, and this aspect of the festival includes a celebration of the life and times of Courtney Kenny, Mayo’s Musical Maestro for 2017, who has contributed enormously to music in the region, and indeed in Ireland. This is the opening event on Wednesday 24th May in St Mary’s Church, Ballinrobe, 8pm and will feature Sean Costello, Michael Coen, Sandra Schalks and the Ballinrobe Folk Choir.
Several community concerts will take place all over the county as part of the Mayo International Choral Festival, with visiting and local choirs performing at each – on Thurs 25th May a concert will take place in the Ballina Arts Centre and also in Westport in the Church of the Holy Trinity. On Friday 26th May, concerts will take place in Ballintubber Abbey, St Patrick’s Church Newport and for the first time a concert in Ballyhaunis at The Friary. On Sunday evening 28th, there is a concert in Christ Church, Castlebar, which starts at 5pm.
Saturday 27th May sees the choirs competing in Castlebar’s GMIT, which is open to the public. It’s a great chance to see all the choirs singing at their best! In between the competitions, choirs will perform short outdoor performances all over Castlebar town on the Songway Choral Trail, and also at Mayo Memorial Peace Park, weather permitting.
On Sunday 28th May, everyone is invited to sing at the Dawn Chorus at Lough Lannagh Car Park, Castlebar at 8am – for those rising early or for those going home from the celebrations the night before! The festival closes with a concert in Christchurch, Castlebar at 5pm.
Tickets: Gala Concert: www.eventbrite.ie and local outlets. All other events: local outlets and on the doors