Mayo will be in full voice at the end of May as more than 1,400 singers will take part in the sixth Mayo International Choral Festival, performing songs and pieces from many genres, including jazz, pop, folk, sacred and gospel music. Mayo in May is the mecca for all music lovers!
The sixth festival, the only countywide choral festival in Ireland, will take the form of 39 international, national and Mayo choirs participating on a competitive and non-competitive basis. The festival will include a number of evening and daily countywide performances, as well as competitions with all events open to a public audience, with many pop-up mini performances on the Songway Choral Trail. Friendship, relaxation, and a memorable Mayo experience are ensured.
Choirs from Mayo and local community groups will assist with the coordination of the events. International choirs include, from Bulgaria – Angel Manolov Choir, from England – Voice Point Choir, from Sweden – Cantare Chamber Choir, and from Russia – LYRA Vocal Ensemble.
The organisers are delighted to announce that the highlight of the festival, the Saturday Night Gala Concert will take place again, at the GMIT, Castlebar. This features all the winning choirs of the competitions and is a spectacular night of music. Special guests on the night is the a cappella quartet Lyra, from St Petersburg in Russia. The end of the concert will see all attending choirs (and audience members ) join together to sing the very last song of the evening, and this is truly a joy to experience live.
The festival continues to honour Mayo’s heroes and heroines in song and music and this aspect of the festival includes a celebration of the life and times of Courtney Kenny, Mayo’s Musical Maestro for 2017, who has contributed enormously to music in the region, and indeed in Ireland. This is the opening event on Wednesday, May 24 in St Mary’s Church, Ballinrobe at 8pm and will feature Sean Costello, Michael Coen, Sandra Schalks and the Ballinrobe Folk Choir.
Several community concerts will take place all over the county, with visiting and local choirs performing at each. On Thursday, May 25 a concert will take place in the Ballina Arts Centre and also in Westport in the Church of the Holy Trinity. On Friday, May 26, concerts will take place in Ballintubber Abbey, St Patrick’s Church Newport and for the first time a concert in Ballyhaunis at The Friary. On Sunday, May 28 there is a concert in Christ Church, Castlebar, which starts at 5pm.
Saturday, May 27 sees the choirs competing in Castlebar’s GMIT, which is open to the public. It’s a great chance to see all the choirs singing at their best! In between the competitions, choirs will perform short outdoor performances all over Castlebar town on the Songway Choral Trail, and also at Mayo Memorial Peace Park, weather permitting.
On Sunday, May 28 everyone is invited to sing at the Dawn Chorus at Lough Lannagh Carpark, Castlebar at 8am – for those rising early or for those going home from the celebrations the night before! The festival closes with a concert in Christchurch, Castlebar at 5pm. For more information, log on to www.mayochoral.com or www.facebook.com/mayochoral or phone the festival office on (094 ) 9023040.