Celebration

Roscrea and Birr choirs raise their voices in unison

Memorable choral event to mark 40 years of joint clusters

Tipperary Star reporter

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Roscrea and Birr choirs raise their voices in unison

Bishop Fintan Monahan will attend the Roscrea and Birr choral concert

Several choirs from the Roscrea and Birr areas will celebrate four decades of beautiful musicmaking this coming Sunday.

About one hundred choir members are expected to turn up for the celebration and everyone in the community is invited to attend what should be a memorable event of choral music.

This Sunday, November 25, is the Feast of Christ the King, and all the choir members will be asked to attend a workshop in the Abbey Hall, Roscrea at 3.30pm, during which they will practice a selection of music. The public event will be held at 6pm in St Cronan's Church across the road.

The choir members come from two clusters, the Brendan cluster and the Cronan cluster. The Brendan cluster includes choirs from Birr, Kinnitty, Kilcolman and Coolderry, and Shinrone. The Cronan cluster includes choirs from Roscrea, Kyle and Knock, and Curriganeen.

Gerry Dolan, from the Birr choir, recalled the establishment of the Joint Cluster choir.

“Forty years ago, Fr Tony Cahir, who was a Curate in Roscrea at the time, and myself met and chatted about the possibility of all of these church choirs coming together from time to time and performing in special occasions. Fr Enda Burke, CC, Roscrea, and Fr Anthony Finnegan, OCSO, Mount St Joseph's, were also present at the meeting. The idea was also that the choirs would come together from time to time and receive instruction from experts in the choral field," he said.

The joint cluster choir has performed many times together since then, at services in Knock, at ordinations, abbatial blessings, Christmas services, and in the Eucharistic Congress in Dublin. Fr Anthony was musical director of the choir for a number of years, as was Carmel Kehoe from Shinrone. Dom Richard Purcell, OCSO, Abbot of Mount Melleray Abbey, has been the director for the last 20 years.

Sunday's event is an ecumenical occasion and will also feature a brass ensemble. Bishop Fintan Monahan will attend and the choir will be conducted by Dom Richard.