Music is a very important part of our parish life. We celebrate all aspects of parish life through our music. Indeed, to sing is to pray twice. Our Lady of Consolation, Donnycarney has a rich tradition in church music, something which is reflected in the fact that there are two Choirs based in the Church. Also, it is worth noting that many well-known musicians live locally and in surrounding areas.
1. Our Lady of Consolation Church Choir
The main Church Choir is a long established feature of the parish, and is currently under the directorship of Sarah Brown. It is a mixed chamber choir, and sings at the 12 o'clock Sunday mass and on occasion throughout the church year. We sing a variety of church music in parts and in unison, from Plainchant to well-known hymns sung throughout the Irish church, to compositions by classical composers such as Schubert, Bach and Mendelssohn, to name but a few. Occasions such as Christmas and the annual Intercultural Mass afford the Choir and local singers the opportunity to do some solo work. Throughout the year, the Organist/Choir Director adds to the singing of the Choir at weekly mass with organ Chorales mainly by J.S. Bach and Dietrich Buxtehude, as well as arrangements of Irish airs, thereby enabling the congregation to hear organ as well as choral repertoire on a weekly basis. In addition, the Choir has a small music library which comprises some rare books.
The Choir welcomes compositions by contemporary Irish composers and, although not a formal arrangement, has as part of its brief a commitment to Irish composers, living and deceased, and to their work. The Organist/Choir Director stays in contact with the Contemporary Music Centre, the Dublin Diocese, the Association of Irish Choirs, the Royal School of Church Music in Ireland and the Irish Traditional Music Archives in order to keep up to date with developments in Church music, singing, composition and performance.
Rehearsals and Membership
Rehearsals take place every Monday night in Le Chéile Community Centre, Donnycarney (beside the Church). Altos meet at 6.45 pm, All Members of Choir meet at 7.30 p.m, and Sopranos meet from 8.15 p.m. to 9 p.m. New members are very welcome! Although it is an advantage to be able to read music, is not necessary.
All queries regarding joining the Choir can be addressed to Sarah @ 087 673 0805.
2. Irish Language Choir / Cár Gaeilge Dhomhnach Cearna
The Irish language Choir sings at the bilingual 9 o'clock mass every Sunday in Our Lady of Consolation Donnycarney under the directorship of Sarah Brown (Sorcha de Brún). It was founded in the 1990s by the then Choir Director, Ken Tuohy, and had just a few members. One of those members, Violet Uí Dhulaing, also contributed to the training of the choir members and to the collection of music in the Irish language. When the Irish language Mass in the Church became a bilingual mass, it was decided that the singing would remain in Irish, and this has been the case ever since.
The Irish language choir sings a wide variety of music, and covers several categories of Irish language singing. It sings original compositions in Irish by composers such as Seán Ó Riada; plainchant in Irish; old Irish hymns, or amhráin bheannaithe ('holy songs') and old poems set to traditional airs; translations of English language hymns; and contemporary Irish language compositions. As with the main 12 o'clock choir, the Irish language choir welcomes the opportunity to perform new works by Irish composers. The Irish language choir were broadcast live on RTE Raidió na Gaeltachta on October 28 2012, and performed Seán Ó Riada's Aifreann a Dó.
One of the main achievements and objectives of the Irish language choir has been to keep the singing of hymns, or 'holy songs', alive in congregational singing and to use traditional techniques as much as possible in doing this. For this purpose, we use resources such as the Irish Traditional Music Archives in Dublin. The Choir sings in the Claisceadal (Irish language Choral) style, and uses techniques from both sean-nÓs singing and, to a lesser extent, Scottish Psalm singing for its performances of Irish church music. Attempting to draw the congregation into the singing of Irish language music, we consider one of our greatest achievements has been to revive the beautiful old 'Our Father', 'ár nAthair', by Seán de hÓrdha, the Co. Clare poet.
The Organist/Choir Director, with the assistance and enthusiasm of the Irish language singers, frequently collects music in the Irish language. A recent trip in October 2012 to the West Kerry Gaeltacht of Ballyferriter yielded more Irish language hymns and amhráin bheannaithe when the local parish priest, An tAthair Eoin Ó Cadhla, gave me a collection of previously unknown Irish language hymns frequently sung in Ballyferriter which we intend to sing in Donnycarney. We would like to express our gratitude to An tAthair Ó Cadhla for his time and for his generosity. A future trip to Cúil Aodha, the homeplace of CÓr Chúil Aodha and the composer Peadar Ó Riada, is planned.
The Catholic Church adopted the role of cantor, or chief singer, from Judaism in the early days of Christianity. In both faith traditions, the cantor leads the sung responses of the congregation, especially the psalms
Our cantor Olivia Dobbs leads and supported the congregation in song particularly at the Saturday Vigil Mass and at Christmas and Easter Liturgies with the Choir
In our Parish all of the sssemble is encouraged to participate.
Rehearsals and Membership
Rehearsals take place in Le Chéile Community Centre at 9 p.m. every Monday night. Everybody is welcome, and it is not necessary to be able to speak Irish.