Irish Church Music Association’s summer school marks its 50th year

01 Jul 2019

Over 100 singers and musicians from around the country are expected to attend the 50th Annual Irish Church Music Association’s summer school in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, from Wednesday 3 – Friday 5 July on the theme Rejoice and Sing.

This year the Irish Church Music Association’s 50th summer school is preceded by a two-day jubilee conference being held in partnership with the National Centre for Liturgy.  This special conference, beginning today in Maynooth, is reflecting on how music in the liturgy has changed over the past fifty years, and how it has evolved in practice within parishes throughout the country since Vatican II.

Immediately following this conference the 50th Irish Church Music Association summer school will open and will run until 5 July in the beautiful surroundings of Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth.

Archbishop Eamon Martin, Archbishop of Armagh and Apostolic Administrator of the Diocese of Dromore, will participate in the conference on 2 July as well as celebrating Mass that evening. This Mass will be the closing liturgy of the two day conference, as well as being the opening Mass for the 50th summer school.

The Bishop of Meath, Bishop Tom Deenihan, will celebrate Mass on the evening of 4 July for the association’s Festive Eucharist Celebration to celebrate the 50th summer school.

Speaking as the jubilee conference opened, chairperson of ICMA Father Turlough Baxter said, “2019 is a particularly exciting time for the Irish Church Music Association marking fifty years of our annual summer school.  Our success to date is drawn from the association being a family of people involved in music throughout the country – women and men who are deeply dedicated to the enrichment of parish liturgies. All of us in the association draw strength from coming together and by sharing our skills and faith.”

Father Baxter continued, “This year we celebrate fifty years of building this family. Our opening two-day conference is an opportunity to revisit why we use music in our liturgies, how we can move forward in a changing Church in Ireland, and how music unites a community and keeps worship alive.  Following this, our summer school will showcase notable composers and highlight elements of the musical liturgy which have originated during our annual meeting.  This year we can look forward to a great gathering of people, each of whom enthusiastically brings their music to churches and parishes across Ireland and beyond.”

The guest director of this year’s summer school will be Father Michael Joncas, liturgical theologian and composer of contemporary Catholic music, best known for his hymn, On Eagle’s Wings.  

A number of key Irish composers will present workshops during this year’s summer school including Ephrem Feeley, Bernard Sexton, Orla Barry, Ciaran Coll, Sister Marie Dunne CHF, Dr John O’Keeffe and more.

A new publication will be launched to commemorate fifty years of the ICMA, and to honour influential members of the association over this time-span.


Notes to Editors

  • The Irish Church Music Association was founded in November 1969 to support the work of musicians working in the field of liturgical music in Ireland.  Through training, publication and dissemination of information, the ICMA strives to improve standards and encourage musicians in their service of God and the community.  The ICMA is supported by the Irish Bishops’ Conference and is based in the National Centre for Liturgy, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, Co. Kildare.  There is a membership of approximately 250 people which is made up of a variety of people from choirs around the country and those interested in Church Music.
  • See for information on membership of the association and for a complete timetable for this year’s Summer School.                                               

For media contact: Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678 and Brenda Drumm 00353 (0) 87 310 4444.