Londonderry choral festival making a real big noise

Members of the Education Authority Western Region Junior Choir perform at the festival
Members of the Education Authority Western Region Junior Choir perform at the festival

Thousands of singers are set to raise the roof in coming days during the third City of Derry International Choral Festival.

Spokeswoman Helen O’Hare said the festival – which started in Londonderry on Wednesday and ends on Sunday – provides opportunities for competitive and non-competitive participation for singers across a wide range of styles, ensembles and ages.

Ms O’Hare said 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 will see 60 schools, local, national and international choirs compete in a range of categories and perform in public spaces throughout the city.

The main venue for the concerts, competitions and workshops is St Columb’s Hall.

Highlights this year 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, the International Competition featuring 10 top-quality competitors from Belarus, Czech Republic, Germany, Poland, Slovenia, Sweden, England and Ireland, and Bluebottle, a musical performance for children and families, featuring a choir of 300 local schoolchildren, the Ulster Orchestra, narrator and live projected animation.

The festival will also host 40 free Choral Trail performances in venues throughout the city from Friday to Sunday.

The events include: a Sacred Trail in 10 churches on Sunday morning; two community concerts (in The Gasyard Centre on Saturday and St Columb’s Park House on Sunday); and a tour of Northern Ireland for one of the visiting guest choirs, Utopia & Reality, which performs on Friday.

Ms O’Hare said: “Thousands of performers are involved in the festival, and that is not including those who attend the shows.

“And there is a 500-person capacity in the hall. This is a big festival which has been building over the last three years. It is fully international and has high-calibre adjudicators on the panel who have been here for the last three years.”

She added: “This is a week long of singing and celebration.

“This is the third year and the buzz is fantastic, the momentum has been growing from year one and the reputation of the festival has travelled which is why we have attracted so many great international choirs to the city.”

For more information about festival events log onto: