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Cathedral choirs seek new members



CHOIR MEMBERS WANTED: St Mary’s Cathedral Children’s Choir is seeking new members. Pictured are some of the members of the children's choir.

By Michelle Crean

New members are the life blood of any organisation and for anyone interested in singing there’s an opportunity to join two local choirs.

St Mary’s Cathedral Choir and St Mary’s Cathedral Children’s Choir are both welcoming new members from Tuesday, September 10, when they resume their rehearsal schedule.
St Mary’s Cathedral Choir is a venerable institution spanning back over 150 years.

“A magnificent cathedral such as St Mary’s deserves a top-class choir,” Aidan O’ Carroll, Choral Director, told the Killarney Advertiser.

“Before I took over six years ago, I came incognito to hear the choir, being careful not to be spotted in the cathedral by members of the choir, many of whom I knew of old. I was impressed by the vocal quality and musicality of the singers and felt that I could really achieve something.”

The Cathedral Children’s Choir was established in October 2014 and is now entering its sixth year and boys and girls aged 8-12 are welcome.

“There is no audition and membership is entirely free. The children’s choir rehearses every Tuesday from 6.15 - 7pm in the cathedral choir room directly over the sacristy. Children learn a wide repertoire both liturgical and non-liturgical music and learn to read music, something which is very valuable in later life. The Children’s Choir also takes part in concerts in the cathedral and elsewhere.”

Aidan’s choral experience stretches back over 40 years. He was a member of St John’s Gregorian Choir in Tralee under Fr Pat Ahern and sang in the National Youth Choir and Madrigal 70 while in UCC. He also founded the Kerry Choral Union which is still going strong, and the Kerry Chamber Choir and Orchestra in 1992.
The Tralee CBS Boys’ Choir which he cofounded with Brother David O’Connell in 1982, and directed for 22 years, sang for Pope John Paul II and in many of Europe’s most prestigious Cathedrals – Westminster, Canterbury, Cologne, Antwerp and Liverpool and in the Irish College in Louvain.

“When I took over in the cathedral just before Easter 2013, I was thrown it at the deep end. I had three weeks to prepare the choir for the Easter ceremonies. Then there was the ordination of Ray Browne in July of the same year. After that I set about a programme of renewal in all aspects of the cathedral choir’s work. In this I got the wholehearted support of the choir members, organist Ulla Latimer, Librarian Peadar Keogh and, of course, Fr Kieran O’Brien and the other priests, as well as Bishop Ray Browne himself. The choir’s repertoire has been completely overhauled and expanded to close on 200 pieces.
The choir rehearses year-round, except August, in the choir gallery on Tuesday nights from 7 - 8.30pm and on Sunday mornings from 9.30 - 10.30am before singing at the 10.30 choral Mass. The choir has also undertaken a number of CD and DVD recording projects and has increased its non-liturgical performances and broadcasts.”

The cathedral also attracts quite a few visiting choirs from as far away as Australia and New Zealand and the United States. The cathedral choir often hosts joint performances with these, he added.
“The annual Carol Concert held in December has become an important event in the cultural life of the town.”

Anyone interested in trying out either choir can simply come along on Tuesday, September 10 at the appropriate time or call Aidan O’Carroll on 087 4103220.



Carols by Candlelight

    St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas […]






St. Mary’s Cathedral, will be filled with music and glowing candles, as choirs from all over Killarney Parish gather for a community of voices together to celebrate Christmas 2023, December17, at 7.00pm. Admission is free.

Ten Choirs from Killarney parish will join together and sing some of the world’s most beloved Christmas carols.
The carol service is directed by accomplished Musician and Choral Director, Paula Gleeson. Originally from Cork, her family have been involved in all aspects of choral and church music for 50 years.

“This is the best experience as director, working with Fr. Kieran O’Brien, and St. Mary’s Cathedral Choir, I get to work with so many talented people in Killarney. The commitment of Teachers, Principals, and the hundreds of students from the Primary and Secondary Schools is inspiring. The generosity of our sponsors, who were so willing to contribute has helped to make this night a reality. We are all so truly grateful,” she said.

Choirs include:
St. Mary’s Cathedral Parish Choir, organist Anita Lakner
Holy Cross Mercy School Choir
St. Oliver’s Primary School Choir
St. Brigid’s Secondary School Choir
St. Brendan’s Secondary School Choir
Killarney Harmonisers
Killarney Community College School Choir
Lissivigeen National School Choir
Gaelscoil Faithleann School Choir
Presentation Monastery School Choir

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The same but different – A tribute to three great Irish musicians



Driving home from work last Friday, tributes for Shane McGowan were pouring out across the radio stations and while listening in, I got a strong sense of déjà vu.

It was only a few months earlier that we got the sad news that the talented Aslan front man Christy Dingham had passed away, and a short few weeks after that – Sinéad O’Connor.  The loss of three iconic Irish musicians that left music fans across the country reeling.

When I think about each artist individually, their personalities couldn’t be more different. Yet, for days after the passing of the Pogues frontman, I found myself wondering why I was so drawn to all three.

And then, over the weekend I stumbled across a completely unrelated article which led with a headline:

“In a year dominated by artificial intelligence, deepfakes, and disingenuity, “authentic” has somehow emerged as Merriam-Webster’s word for 2023.”

And there was my answer. The one characteristic that embodied all three of these great Irish musicians.

It was my mother that first introduced me to Aslan’s music. She grew up during their peak and loved all sorts of rock music. I regularly watch their Vicar Street performances back on YouTube and still get mesmerised by Christy’s intense stage presence. Using elaborate hand gestures to evoke a greater meaning behind the words, he always looked like he was away in his own world. Off stage, and particularly later in his career, I admired him for his honesty when talking about his struggles with addiction and mental health. He was talking openly about these issues long before it was the norm.

Sinéad O’Connor was another original soul who, because of her talent, was catapulted into a music industry consumed by artificiality; she was almost too pure for it all. I always admired her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Her authenticity was evident in every aspect of her artistry. The way she unapologetically embraced her shaved head and boy-ish style, she challenged conventional opinions around beauty. Her music reflected her personal struggles and she never shied away from addressing issues of social injustice, religion, and gender equality. Her stances often drew criticism and controversy, but she always remained true to herself.

Shane MacGowan will always be remembered for his unfiltered nature, and while the lyrics of many songs were dark and gritty, there was also an element of empathy and compassion in what he wrote. Like Christy, he too struggled with addiction and mental health issues throughout his career. While his demons sometimes spilled over into the public eye, his honesty and vulnerability just endeared him even more to us Irish.

So isn’t it apt in a year we lost three great musicians, the word of 2023 happens to be the one undeniable trait that they all shared. Thank you Christy, Sinead and Shane for showing us that authenticity is not just about being different to everyone else; but also about possessing the courage to challenge the established, to question the norms, and to keep going, even when the going gets tough.


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