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Wednesday, 15th November 2023

Drogheda Male Voice Choir celebrate their tenth anniversary

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 The Drogheda Male Voice Choir pictured with Pope Francis during their visit to Rome in 2018.

By Seamie Briscoe

The Drogheda Male Voice Choir's annual Christmas Concert is a highlight of the local calendar and, this being the choir's 10th anniversary, they'll be pulling out all the stops to make it a memorable occasion, a night not to be missed.

The concert takes place in the TLT Theatre on December the 8th and tickets are on sale now - you can reserve yours by CLICKING HERE or by calling 041 - 987 8560.

The Drogheda Male Voice Choir originated from a gathering of choral singers which took place in 2013. Their intention was to set up a Gregorian chant ensemble, but, such was the turnout, they agreed to go one step further and set up a full male voice choir. 

The next step was to find a musical maestro to take charge in accordance with their choral musical aspirations. David Leddy was successful in landing the job and rehearsals got under way to establish a repertoire. The choir was launched on October 11th 2013 in the Westcourt Hotel with compere, Gavin Duffy; the venue was packed to capacity for the successful ‘take off’ of the Drogheda Male Voice Choir.

The choir’s next major recital was their Christmas Concert which took place in St Mary’s Church in James’ Street with Helen (Hutchinson) Murray as guest soprano.

This was another very successful concert which drew a large attendance to give the new choir confidence for the future. Demand for their singing services grew and they have enjoyed some marvellous achievements ever since.

Their next major encounter was striking up a great relationship with a top Male Voice Choir from the Welsh valleys called The Aber Valley Male Voice Choir. They both sang at a memorable concert in St Mary’s Church James’ Street which led to a very successful maiden trip to Cardiff for the Drogheda Male Voice Choir.

This was a memorable weekend for the choir which not alone established them among the bastion of male choral singing but also established an unbreakable bond among the choir members which exists to this day.

The Drogheda Male Voice Choir has sung with many top-class performers ranging from the ‘Three Tenors’ to Rebecca Storm as well as singing at excellent venues such as the Helix in Dublin.

However, their invitation to perform at the 25th Anniversary of the Festival of Male Voice Choirs in the Royal Albert Hall in 2016 was a crowning achievement which highlighted the town of Drogheda among the best Male Voice Choirs in the world.

Even this was surpassed however in 2018 when they went to Rome and sang in St Peters Square for the Papal audience and the main evening Sunday Mass in St Peter’s Basilica.

This trip to Rome was undertaken to honour Brother Christopher Kierans, a great Drogheda person who served for 40 years in the Vatican, who was retiring from his post. The choir celebrated his retirement when they sang at a function in the Irish Embassy in Rome which saw a plethora of dignitaries turnout out to pay their respects to Brother Kierans.

In 2020 the Drogheda Male Voice Choir returned to Caerphilly to sing at a special concert to celebrate the Aber Valley Male Choirs 60th anniversary. 

More recently the choir made a memorable trip to Tuscany and sang in Montecatini Basilica at the main evening Mass, also in Lucca, and Florence. They were also invited to sing in the Grand Plaza Hotel where they were accompanied by David Leddy on Verdi’s piano which is on display in the hotel where he spent the latter part of his life.

The Verdi Recital in the Grand Plaza Hotel with David Leddy playing Verdi's piano.

Whilst all of these recitals were scheduled, it was an unplanned song “You’ll Never Walk Alone” on the carousel on the main street in Montecatini which gained worldwide media attention.  TV stations clambered for attention and interviews and the item was featured on programmes far and wide.

 These are all major events which the Drogheda Male Voice Choir have taken part in over the past ten years, but they have also lent their services to numerous charitable local causes and helped to raise much needed funds for various organisations and charities over their ten years.

Whilst the Drogheda Male Voice Choir achievements have been memorable in the short space of time since their formation, it is their Christmas Concert to which they focus and enjoy each year.

This is always the highlight of their choral year and they concentrate on producing a concert which portrays the best in local talent. They introduced Amie Dyer as their regular soprano when she was 15 years of age. She has now graduated to be a soprano with an Opera House in Linz in Austria. Unfortunately, her newfound commitments have, for the first time in ten years, not allowed her to take part this year.

Pope Francis Speaking to the late Owen Rafferty.

However, another wonderful Drogheda Soprano who is making a huge name for herself in operatic circles, Hannah O’Brien, will once again grace the stage on their Christmas Concert this year.  Also on the show is the choir Hannah O’Brien grew up and sang with, The Lourdes Youth Choir conducted by Jackie Walshe.

As founding member and chairman, Tommy Finnegan, says; “we decided from the outset ten years ago, that our choir would be based on good choral music, fun and enjoyment. We have managed to preserve that edict and continue to enjoy ourselves as well as giving enjoyment to those who come along and listen to us.

“We have a loyal and dedicated choir and an excellent Musical Director in David Leddy, who lifts our spirits during sad times and prepares us for the good times which thankfully, outweigh the bad”.  

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