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Irish Church Music Association Summer School 2011

The Irish Church Music Association will take place in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth from Monday 4 – Friday 9 July 2011. The theme of this year’s Summer School is The Mystery of Faith.  The guest director will be Órla Barry, returning to direct for her fourth time. Founder and director of the chamber choir Cantando, which will be presenting a concert on the Wednesday evening of the Summer School, Órla Barry is a graduate of University College Dublin and the College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. She has worked extensively as a conductor, singer, clinician and teacher, both here in Ireland and in the United States. Cantando was formed to explore the choral repertoire from Renaissance madrigals to contemporary works by leading national and international composers and quickly established a reputation as a highly accomplished and musical group. Órla was appointed as director of Dublin’s famous Palestrina Choir at the Pro-Cathedral in December 1996, a post which she held until Christmas of 2001.

Órla is also very active in the field of liturgical music as a member of the Dublin Diocesan Sacred Music Commission and has been Guest Director of the annual Church Music Summer School of the Irish Church Music Association on three occasions to great acclaim. On several occasions, Órla has been invited to appear as guest conductor with the National Chamber Choir. She is Head of Music at St. Raphaela’s Secondary School, Kilmacud.

The Summer School is also recognised by the Department of Education as in-service training for primary school teachers. The wide selection of tutorials and workshops on offer this year provide training and resources across a range of areas:

  • Music for the New Missal
  • Choral Direction
  • Liturgical Composition
  • Parish and Contemporary Music
  • Music for Schools
  • Organ Training
  • Cantor Training
  • Special Choir led by Guest Director, Órla Barry

As we prepare for the new translation of the Roman Missal next Advent, the theme this year comes from the heart of the Eucharistic Prayer: The Mystery of Faith. After the Consecration, we acclaim our faith in the saving death and resurrection of Christ. Each of the new acclamation texts mentions this central reality, for the Church never ceases to announce the Gospel, the Good News of Christ’s death and resurrection. Now, as we await in joyful hope for the Lord’s return, every time we partake in the Eucharist, following the Lord Jesus’ command: ‘Do this in memory of me’, we recall his death and resurrection, our minds are filled with grace and a pledge of future glory is given to us. This year’s Summer School will introduce the new Mass settings which we will be using later this year. Cardinal Seán Brady will be opening the Church Music Summer School and launching a new collection of Masses called Sing the Mass.

The week offers countless memories and moments for participants to savour. The splendid settings of Maynooth College Chapel and St Mary’s Oratory provide very special places to celebrate sung liturgy. The corridors ring with laughter and chat as old friendships are renewed and new ones formed. The Summer School is a vital way for church musicians to recharge their batteries, meet other musicians and learn new techniques and repertoire. It provides a well to drink from which provides refreshment and re-invigoration that lasts for a good portion of the year – at least until the next summer school comes around . . .

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