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Wednesday, 15th January 2020

A big weekend of singing for Drogheda

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Leading Irish mezzo-soprano, Tara Erraught.

Celebrating the Voice with Tara Erraught

This January, leading Irish mezzo-soprano, Tara Erraught becomes guest Artistic Director for a weekend of events focussed on Celebrating the Voice, as part of Drogheda Classical Music 2019/20.

From Friday 31 Jan to Sun 2 Feb, Tara has programmed concerts, masterclasses, a talk by New York-based laryngeal consultant surgeon plus a yoga workshop led by qualified yoga instructor and speech and language therapist.

Eight singers, four of them from the North East region, will take part in masterclasses led by Tara and pianist Dearbhla Collins. The workshops will culminate in two concerts featuring Tara and the emerging singers including an opera concert on Sunday 2 Feb with Irish National Opera orchestra.

“I am thrilled to come home to work with these emerging singers and to highlight the importance of vocal health for all singers and how it’s the key to longevity within the industry” Tara Erraught remarked.

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“ Often those starting out are not aware of measures they should take to protect themselves but also how singing is about the entire body not just the voice. I am blown away that Dr Paul Kwak, who I have worked with in New York, has agreed to come to give a talk about vocal anatomy and physiology.

“Emma Wallace Ahern is a qualified Speech and Language Therapist and Yoga instructor who will use her knowledge of vocal anatomy and breathing to tailor a yoga session to include mindfulness/anti-anxiety techniques.”

Tara’s long-time collaborator pianist and repetiteur, Dearbhla Collins will help take the singers through a number of songs and arias which they will then have a chance to perform in concert with Tara.

All masterclasses and concerts are open to the public and will be presented by Liz Nolan of RTÉ lyric FM. Liz has a wealth of knowledge on vocal repertoire and will act as a liaison between the audience and Tara to ensure that everyone gets as much as possible from the weekend.

This is the first weekend of its kind in the North East and is aimed at all singers whether they’re amateur, professional, soloists, choir members or interested in learning more about singing and the voice. The weekend is generously supported by the Geraldine McGee bursary.

Events will take place in St Peter’s Church of Ireland and its adjacent hall. Events are individually priced plus there is a special weekend pass* available for €60 to include attendance at all masterclasses, talks and concerts (applicable to full price tickets only). *yoga class separate

Booking through Droichead Arts Centre on 041 9833946 or with further information available from

The Series is funded by the Arts Council and Louth County Council and run in partnership with Droichead Arts Centre. With sponsorship from the d Hotel and RTÉ Supporting the Arts.

Masterclasses and Talks

Fri 31 Jan      11:00 – 13:00
Song Masterclass 1          
St Peter’s Church of Ireland. Tickets €8

In this opening masterclass, Tara Erraught and Dearbhla Collins will work with emerging singers including Amie Dyer, Hannah O’Brien, James McCreanor and Michael Bell on song repertoire. This is a fascinating experience to witness a singing lesson and have a chance to hear the transformation as well as a chance to ask questions. This session is presented by broadcaster, Liz Nolan.

Fri 31 Jan      14:30 – 16:30
Song Masterclass 2          
St Peter’s Church of Ireland. Tickets €8

A second class concentrating on song. Tara and Dearbhla will continue working with emerging talent preparing for a recital concert on Saturday 1 Feb. This session is presented by broadcaster, Liz Nolan.

Fri 31 Jan      19:30 – 21:30
Opera Masterclass 1       
St Peter’s Church of Ireland. Tickets €8

A masterclass geared towards the opera gala on Sunday 2 Feb. Four new singers, Aebh Kelly, Matthew Mannion, Kelli Ann Masterson and Luis Magallanes will work with Tara on aria preparation. This session is presented by broadcaster, Liz Nolan and is open to all to witness what happens in a singing lesson and have a chance to ask questions.

Sat 1 Feb      11:00 – 13:00
Opera Masterclass 2        
St Peter’s Church of Ireland. Tickets €8

The second opera-focussed masterclass will guide the emerging singers through opera conduct and how to prepare for their first rehearsal with orchestra. This session will be with piano and presented by broadcaster, Liz Nolan and is open to all to experience what happens in a singing lesson and have a chance to ask questions.

Sat 1 Feb      14:00 – 18:00
Guest Lecture – Dr Paul Kwak, Laryngeal Surgeon at the New York University Voice Center.
St Peter’s Church of Ireland
Tickets €15

While a graduate student at The Juilliard School, pursuing a degree in collaborative piano and working with opera singers, Dr Paul Kwak fell in love with the singing voice and became fascinated by how the body creates sound. 

Dr Paul Kwak is a laryngologist and laryngeal surgeon at the New York University Voice Center, and Assistant Professor in the NYU Department of Otolaryngology - Head and Neck Surgery, specialising in care of the professional voice. He treats patients with vocal cord cancer, vocal cord paralysis, and laryngeal papilloma, and is experienced in surgical techniques for laryngeal microsurgery and use of the KTP laser. He works closely with singers at the Metropolitan Opera in New York.

Sat 1 Feb 2020, 7:30pm
Tara Erraught and Dearbhla Collins - Showcase recital
St Peter’s Church of Ireland
Advance €19 & €17 conc. Door €20 & €18 conc. €5 child/student

As part of A Celebration of the Voice, guest Artistic Director, Tara Erraught will give an evening recital showcasing the wonderful world of song. Accompanied by her musical partner, Dearbhla Collins, this concert will also feature local singers Amie Dyer, Hannah O’Brien, Michael Bell and James McCreanor, who will have taken part in masterclasses with Tara and Dearbhla. 

Sun 2 Feb     11:00 – 13:00
Yoga and Relaxation workshop with Emma Wallace Ahern (A Couple of Yogis)
Parish Hall, St Peter’s Church of Ireland
Tickets €15

As a qualified Speech and Language Therapist specialising in emotional regulation, Emma uses the tools of yoga - breath and movement - to allow participants find balance in the body and mind. Drawing from her understanding of voice production, anatomy and physiology, training in yoga poses and breathing exercises as well as an understanding of neuro-function of emotional processing and regulation, Emma’s workshop will offer a little bit of everything - mindfulness, breath work and movement.
Participants to supply own mats.

Sun 2 Feb 2020, 7:30pm
Opera Gala with Irish National Opera Orchestra   
St Peter’s Church of Ireland
Advance €19 & €17 conc. Door €20 & €18 conc. €5 child/student

Opera fans and music fans alike are in for a treat when international mezzo soprano Tara Erraught brings her weekend as guest director of A Celebration of the Voice to a climatic end with a concert featuring some of the most loved and best-known arias from the glorious world of opera. With Irish National Opera Orchestra and introduced by RTÉ lyric FM’s Liz Nolan, this is sure to be one of the most memorable concerts of the season.

Tara and the singers from the opera masterclass will perform showstopping arias from Mozart and Rossini making it a guaranteed evening of delight for all.


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