20 Years A Singin’ for Chapel St Gospel Choir
‘Fiche bliain ag fás’ is the title of one of the classics of Irish literature and 2019 sees Chapel Street Gospel Choir take up this mantle, celebrating 20 years in the making. The group was founded by Fr. Michael Murphy and, well-known scholar of musicianship, Niamh O’Kelly, in 1999 in order to, legend has it, perform at the 12.30 Mass in the Church of the Holy Rosary in Castlebar. Rehearsals took place in the Parish Centre on Chapel Street (yes, you’ve guessed the origins of their new branding!) under the watchful eye and tutelage of Niamh O’Kelly, who passed on the baton in 2006 to noted composer and musician Donal Sarsfield, through to the group’s present musical director, the multi-award winning director Kathy Fahey who is celebrating her eleventh year at the helm.
All three of these extremely talented musicians, directors and composers have brought their own inimitable style to the choir and as a result the group has gone from strength to strength, performing to crowds around Ireland including the National Concert Hall, and also in Europe and twice in the USA. The choir boasts an enviable membership of almost 40 now, many of whom come from all around the county of Mayo and beyond. “It’s a true testament to the great talent in this county…” said one concert-goer recently “…and the evidence is there when the group takes the stage, it’s just fantastic to watch the choir and to hear their voices.”
The eclectic nature of the group has been most recently evident in the delightfully uplifting ‘Spirit and Soul’ and the incredibly cathartic ‘Healing and Hope’ sold out concerts as well as their support gig with the world famous Harlem Gospel Choir all of which took place in 2018.
Given the importance of 2019 for the group, preparations are nearing completion for a 20th Birthday Celebration Extravaganza in the magnificent surroundings of newly-renovated Ballinfad House, outside Belcarra with the concert aptly named ‘Gospel in the House’. It will take place on Friday, 14th June and promises to be an exceptional night of music and song, with ‘The Sophisticats’ band in accompaniment.
This concert is sure to be a truly special night of uplifting music with an incomparable repertoire of songs for every taste. However, the real coup de grace for the group will be their epic special guests, renowned musician David Agnew and his wonderfully talented vocalist daughter, Chloe Agnew in a rare appearance on stage together, along with world-famous songwriter and composer Tom Kendzia, who will be travelling all the way from the USA to perform alongside Chapel St Gospel Choir for their celebration. This will be a night of music which should not be missed!
Tickets are available from IT Music priced €20. Check out http://chapelstreetgospelchoir.com/ for more information.
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