Cathedral Choristers learn Handel’s ‘Messiah’ at Killary Adventure Centre.

Thirty choristers and six supervisors departed by coach early on Sunday morning, 21st August, bound for Killary Adventure Centre in Connemara. It was the first residential trip away since the pandemic, and for a few of the younger ones it was their first time away from home. 

Choristers enjoying the Connemara counryside

Whilst kayaking, gorge walking, archery and climbing ropes were at the front of the choristers’ minds, Director of Music Peter Stobart had other plans too. He writes:

Back in early 2020 we were planning a Christmas performance of Handel’s Messiah. For us to tackle such a large work I always knew that we would have to dedicate some extra rehearsal time on top of our regular commitments. Of course the 2020 performance was cancelled and so we are now working towards performances in December this year. The trip combined the activities with some intensive rehearsing, and the centre were able to accommodate that for us. 

Rehearsal in the geodesic dome.

The centre was very well equipped and the rehearsals took place in a large geodesic dome in the grounds. The shape of the dome gave the sound some peculiar acoustic properties but it was an ideal space in which to rehearse. The staff of the centre were delighted to hear the Hallelujah Chorus coming from within. After three nights and almost four days of activities and rehearsals, the choristers emerged exhausted, challenged and rewarded. The act of singing together is a unifying experience, and to combine this with sleeping and eating together brings another dimension to it.     

Some of the youngest choristers ready for their high ropes adventure.
The tour supervisors Fuchsia, Catriona, Robbie, Dafydd and Peter.

The choir of St Fin Barre’s Cathedral will perform Handel’s Messiah with orchestra on Friday 9th and Saturday 10th December at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased from the Cathedral Shop in September. 

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