Kilkenny City has launched itself as Ireland’s “City of Song” with the announcement of the programme for the 2nd International Gospel Choir Festival. Attracting over 2,000 visitors over one weekend in its first year, this year’s Festival will essentially triple in size, extending over June, July and August.
The 2013 programme features the country’s first dedicated Gospel Music workshop for children and the biggest ever gospel choir performance to take place in Ireland. Choirs from across Ireland, the UK and the US will participate in this year’s Festival and places remain available for other Irish or international singers and choirs seeking to participate.
Internationally acclaimed Choir Director Ja Ronn Thompson is the Guest Director and Artist at the second International Gospel Choir Festival. Director of the San Francisco University Gospel Choir, Thompson will teach 8 to 12 year olds at Ireland’s first Gospel Music workshop for children. The packed programme will also feature Gospel workshops for adults, an open air Gospel concert in the shadows of Kilkenny Castle and a unique Gospel themed tour of Kilkenny City. Festivities in June will culminate in Ireland’s largest ever Gospel Choir concert in the City’s Cathedral. World renowned choirs from Mississippi and the University of Arkansas Gospel Choir will perform at events in Kilkenny in July and August.
“Ireland has a very special relationship with Gospel music, which has been only been enhanced as our country becomes increasingly multicultural. Gospel music is a marriage between music, spirituality and worship, all of which play a large part in our psyche,” Fr Willie Purcell, Chairperson of the festival said.
“It’s a particularly tough time for many people in Ireland at the moment and we hope this year’s Festival, which includes an increased programme of public events and performances will, in a small way, help to lift people’s spirits and morale. We invite all music lovers to come to Kilkenny, our City of Song this summer to help us to raise the roof. We were astounded with the success of last’s years Festival and how the people of Kilkenny and the country at large took the Festival to its heart. We’ve increased the size of this year’s Festival three-fold and in this the year of The Gathering we expect to attract even greater numbers of choirs and visitors from overseas. We’re particularly proud to welcome Ja Ronn Thompson as our Guest Director and Artist. Ja Ronn’s philosophy is to help people to sing and to live with passion and without fear and we believe this is a very positive message for Irish people in 2013,” Fr Purcell added.
The econd International Gospel Choir Festival takes place in Kilkenny from June 14 to 16; July 17 ad 18 and August 8 to 12. Full programme of events and details on choir registration available at www.kilkennygospelchoirfestival.com