Bessbrook school to compete in regional final of All-Island School Choir competition

October 13, 2009

By Brónagh Murphy

The choir from St. Paul’s High School in Bessbrook has been chosen as one of twenty choirs from across the county that will compete in the first All-Island Second Level Schools Choir of the Year competition.

Organised by Co-operation Ireland, the four regional heats of the competition – each featuring five choirs – will be screened by RTÉ Television on successive Sundays beginning on Sunday October 18th at 7.30pm on RTÉ One.  The series will be presented by Anne Cassin.

St. Paul’s was named as one of the Ulster finalists and will perform on the first programme of the series.  The four heat winners will then compete in the All-Island Final, a one-hour live programme from the newly-refurbished Ulster Hall, Belfast on November 15th at 6.30pm on RTÉ One.

To get this far is an achievement in its own right and credit has been paid to Mr Colm Murphy, Head of Music in St. Paul’s, and his colleagues in the music department.

According to Peter Sheridan, Chief Executive of Co-operation Ireland, the competition attracted entries from all corners of the island.

“North, South, East and West are represented in the twenty choirs selected by the adjudicators to compete in the regional heats” he said.

RTÉ’s executive producer of the series, Tommie Gorman, hopes the programmes will give a sense of the work taking place in second level schools on both sides of the border.

“We are hoping the competition will celebrate the ethos of teamwork and group activity promoted in school choirs,” he said.

The overall winner of the All Island Competition will receive £5,000 sterling and the three other finalists will each receive £1,000. The competition is sponsored by Titanic Quarter Ltd and is also be assisted by the Reconciliation Fund of the Department of Foreign Affairs.

The four adjudicators are Seamus Crimmins, RTÉ’s Head of Performing Groups; Dr Angela Feeney, music teacher and opera singer attached to the Munich State Opera; Mark Duley, choir master and organist at the Collegiate Church of St Nicholas, Galway and Dr Geoffrey Spratt, Director, CIT Cork School of Music.

Tune in to RTÉ One on Sunday October 18th at 7.30pm to see St. Paul’s battle it out for a place in the nationwide final.