Posted: 17th March 2017

Last week (Friday 10th March) Clongowes held set of vocal master classes given by renowned Irish Tenor Emmanuel Lawler, who is also a lecturer in the DIT Conservatory of Music and Drama and the Chairman of Feis Ceoil.

Members of the Senior Choir, Schola and members of staff sat in at various times and observed Mr Lawler working with Ceallachan McDonald, Harry Jankola, Rian McKeagney (all Rhetoric), Seán Lannen (Elements), Michael Quinn Keogh (Grammar), Hugo O’Donnell and Conor Martin (both Syntax). A former member of the Palestrina Choir, Mr Lawler also gave a talk to the Senior Choir about how to negotiate high notes and how to blend with one other.

Rian McKeagney (pictured above with Mr Lawler) is singing in his Leaving Certificate practical examination soon and he found the experience particularly helpful: ‘It was the first time that I performed any of my Leaving Cert songs to an audience, so it was a good opportunity to see how I deal with the nerves that come with performance. Add that to the feedback that Emmanuel gave me and it proved to be an excellent affair. Emmanuel highlighted certain aspects of my performance, particularly to do with the phrasing of a song that will definitely help in my performance next month. He also offered some positive reassurance that has boosted my confidence for the practical.

Mr Lawler very much enjoyed hearing the talent in the school and was particularly impressed with how the participants dealt with the challenges presented by a young male voice. ‘Teaching singing to boys of secondary school age, when their voices are in transition is a very particular art form,’ he explained, saying that it was ‘a delight’ to work with the young singers and praising the ‘atmosphere of skilled encouragement’ within Clongowes.

Mr David Scott

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