THE NINTH annual Gospel Rising Music Festival – Ireland's biggest gospel music and choral festival – returns to Galway this month, with choirs from across Ireland, and beyond, performing throughout the city.
The festival runs from Friday May 18 to Sunday 20, and is this year hosted by Galway's IGNITE Gospel Choir. "We are really excited the festival is coming back to our city," said Keara Ní Dhòmhnaill, musical director of IGNITE. "We expect a huge gathering of gospel choirs and music lovers for the weekend."
Among the highlights will be the Gospel Rising’s main festival concert on Friday 18 in the Black Box Theatre. Taking part is the Knocknacarra National School Gospel Choir, which formed out of Gospel Rising’s schools outreach programme.
On Saturday 19 gospel choirs will perform at St Nicholas’ Collegiate Church for a lunchtime concert from 1.30pm to 3pm, while at 8pm in Monroe's on Dominick Street, Elvis and his contribution to gospel music will be marked with the Elvis tribute show from Kevin Doyle Is Not Elvis & The Way it Was Orchestra. Sunday 20 will see the 300 strong Gospel Rising Festival Choir perform at 12.30pm Mass at Galway Cathedral. All are welcome.
The festival will also host workshops with classes suited to all levels of experiences. There will be masterclasses in soloist technique, rhythm skills, African styles, Elvis’s gospel style, contemporary styles, and much more, including yoga workshops, using chants, gongs, and singing bowls. Among the workshop facilitators this year are, Emmanuel Waldron, the Norwegian-based musical director and award-winning pianist; Moises Sala, pianist, composer, arranger and choral conductor of The Gospel Viu Choir; Limerick based West African musical director David Idioh, current musical director of Limerick Gospel Choir; and Craig Lees, senior lecturer on the Popular Music Degree at Leeds College of Music. ,Irish facilitators include Gemma Sugrue, a vocalist and soloist with Jenny Greene and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra; Niamh Hahessy of Gospel Rising; and Brian 'Rags' Ferguson, who tours with Baile na Salsa and Gabriel G Diges bands.
Gospel Rising Music Festival co-founder Lindsay Rountree describes the festival as a "social, educational and fun event" which brings together "lovers of gospel music from all over the country to learn from each other and form networks and friendships".
Tickets both for the concerts and workshops are available through www.gospelrising.com