Posted: 19th October 2015

Clongowes Wood College SJ

The walls of our appropriately named Green Room were alive with the sound of music last week (Thursday 15th), as it played host to our recent celebration of that very fine instrument common to all humans globally, namely, the human voice!

The boys of Clongowes were highly honoured and privileged to welcome Mr Mark Hindley, Chorus Master and Director of the RTE Philharmonic Choir, as he escorted the choirs on a wonderful journey of choral music, proving yet again, that the human voice is the most beautiful musical instrument. It may not possess the power of an organ, the complexities of a piano, or the soulful loneliness of an oboe, but it is true to say that the human voice lies closest to expressing the soul, a characteristic that makes it surpass all other instruments.

Mr Hindley worked patiently, tirelessly and selflessly with our two choirs, firstly, with our new vibrant and enthusiastic Elements Group, who display much vocal promise, and then with the loyal and dedicated members of our Senior Choir. The latter are no strangers to choral challenge, having already proven themselves very worthy performers on our most prestigious national platform of the National Concert Hall, at our recent bicentenary celebrations. Mark was most complimentary of the enormous potential of both groups, and was highly impressed by the amount of material covered since the commencement of the current academic year.

Looking towards the Senior Choir’s return to the Sligo International Choral Festival in November, Mark put them through some lively vocal and breathing warmups. He then gave some advice on technical points such as phrasing, breath control, diction and style, allowing the students to delve deeper into the musical intentions of each composer on the day.

Full of zest

The boys responded very positively to Mark’s sensitivity and musicality as the work progressed, and it was wonderful to see our students bound out the door, as they began to realise their true innate choral potential and ability to self-express They were full of zest, brimming with energy and enthusiasm for all good things choral yet to come! Both our choirs look forward to performing at the annual Christmas concert, while Elements aspire to the recording of a carol to be aired on RTE Lyric FM’s Choirs for Christmas, with Niall Carroll. The new year will see both choirs partake in the Navan and Wesley Choral Festivals, so a busy year of choral music-making to come!

Both Elements and Senior Choirs would like to thank Mark for his good-humoured and witty approach to developing and refining their choral music-making, and look forward to welcoming him back to Clongowes very soon. We would also like to extend a very special thank you, to Ms Lesley Bishop, manager of RTE Performing Groups, who contributed in no small way to making the day a very special celebration of choral music in Clongowes Wood College.

Anne Conaghan, Catherine Heslin, David Scott

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