Choral festival gets underway

Emma Jane Kelly conducting the St Mary's College choir at the launch of the 3rd City of Derry International Choral Festival in the City Hotel. The festival, featuring concerts, competitions and choral trails, runs from the 21st to the 25th October. DER3815GS038
Emma Jane Kelly conducting the St Mary's College choir at the launch of the 3rd City of Derry International Choral Festival in the City Hotel. The festival, featuring concerts, competitions and choral trails, runs from the 21st to the 25th October. DER3815GS038

The third annual City of Derry International Choral Festival gets underway tomorrow, as scores of choirs from Derry and further afield flock to the city to perform and compete among the best in the world.

The festival began as a City of Culture 2013 project and has continued to attract choirs from around the world to take part in the annual five-day event.

This year’s festival will see more than 60 schools, local, national and international choirs compete in a range of categories, perform in public spaces throughout the city, participate in choral workshops and take part in exciting concerts over the five-day event, alongside an outstanding line-up of visiting guest artists.

Highlights will include the Grammy award-winning King’s Singers, workshops with world-renowned choral composer Bob Chilcott, the world premieres of three new works as part of the Singing Shakespeare project, and Bluebottle, a musical performance for children and families, featuring a choir of 300 local school children, the Ulster Orchestra and live projected animation.

The festival’s focal point, the International Competition, will feature 10 top-quality competitors from Belarus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, England and Ireland.

In addition to these events, the festival will host 40 free Choral Trail performances in venues throughout the city from Friday 23rd to Sunday 25th October, a Sacred Trail in 10 churches on the morning of Sunday 25th October, two community concerts (in The Gasyard Centre (Saturday 24th Oct) and St. Columb’s Park House (Sunday 25th October) and a tour of Northern Ireland for one of the visiting guest choirs, Utopia & Reality, who will perform in Strabane (19th), Enniskillen (20th) and Armagh (22nd) before rounding off their tour in Derry on Friday 23rd October.

Dónal Doherty, Artistic Director of the Festival, said: “There is already a real buzz in the city about the return of the Choral Festival for the third year – this time even bigger and better.

“The first two years exceeded all expectations, but I am really excited by the variety and quality of the participating choirs and the many new elements in this year’s programme. “The festival is deeply rooted in the local community, but we’re now beginning to reach out beyond the Derry and Strabane District Council area with concerts in other parts of Northern Ireland.

“We’re indebted to our funders for supporting the ambition and extraordinary growth of the festival and we look forward to the city and district providing yet another special welcome to the many visitors to the City of Song.”

The festival kicks off with an opening concert tomorrow night from the Kings’ Singers and will close on Friday with an awards ceremony and closing gala.

Tickets are now on sale for all festival events via Millennium Forum on +44 2871 264 455 or online at www.millenniumforum.co.uk.

For more information visit the festival website at www.codichoral.com.