A Concert of Sacred Music and Vespers, featuring the acclaimed University of Notre Dame (Indiana, USA) Folk Choir, will take place in the Holy Family Church, Limestone Road, Belfast on Monday, 23 May at 7.30pm.
Comprised of sixty vocalists and musicians from all levels and disciplines at the university, this ensemble serves the Notre Dame community as one of its principal liturgical choirs, primarily singing at the 11:45 Mass at the Basilica each Sunday during the academic year.
The Notre Dame Folk Choir began singing in the late 1970’s during a time of great changes in the liturgy. With the advent of the 1980’s, the choir moved far beyond the conventional definition of a “folk group.” There are now more than four dozen male and female voices along with flute, organ, violins, guitar, string bass, Celtic harp, cello, and bodhran. On special occasions during the liturgical year, a brass contingent adds another dimension to their praise. The choir has successfully achieved a remarkable synthesis of organ and guitar technique, bridging the gap between contemporary compositions of a post-Vatican II Church community and the rich expression of traditional choral repertoire.
The musical offerings of the choir have been gathered from all parts of the world. Special emphasis is placed on contemporary music, sung almost entirely in four-part harmony. Many of these arrangements are exclusive to the folk choir, having been arranged by their directors and a variety of other composers active in the field of sacred music—most notably, Rev Chrysogonus Waddell, O.C.S.O., former choirmaster of the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky. The choir’s choral library is enhanced by music from Ireland, France, and Mexico, and has even included selections in Russian and Mandarin Chinese. Some selections are by the great masters, and even the classic hymn tunes of the early American tradition contribute to their work. Choral music from the African continent, exuberantly performed in four-part harmony and accompanied by an array of percussion instruments, is featured prominently in their repertoire.
While the choir is primarily an undergraduate organization, there is an increasing number of graduate students, faculty, and professional staff from the university who have joined in recent years. The camaraderie between students and professionals within the academic community is one of the things that makes this group unique at Notre Dame.
This is a concert not to be missed. Admission is free with a retiring collection in aid of parish funds. Refreshments will be served afterwards.
For more information phone (028) 90743119 or email: holyfamily@downandconnor.