Festival ends with rousing finale

Over 500 people attended the grand finale of the Gospel Choir Festival, which took place in Kilkenny last weekend.

Over 500 people attended the grand finale of the Gospel Choir Festival, which took place in Kilkenny last weekend.

Crowds packed into St Mary’s Cathedral on Sunday evening, where all of the visiting choirs performed their music in unison alongside high-profile guest performers. Award-winning Irish singer songwriter Don Mescall

sang a special official festival anthem for the first time – written by himself and Chris Pelcer.

The event was the final act after three days of musical and cultural activities in venues around the county.

“The whole thing was extremely successful,” said director Father Willie Purcell.

“It was much more successful than we could ever have predicted. Between workshops, youth gatherings and concerts, we had over 1,200 people attending things.”

Workshops were given by Grayson Warren Brown, an well-known composer, author, recording artist and speaker. Among the guests of the festival was Adrian ‘Fro’ Johnson – one of America’s top gospel rappers – who proved a hit in local schools, hosting workshops with young people on Christian rap and gospel music.

Dr Eddie Jones, associate professor of music at the University of Arkansas, also spoke to the choristers on what it means to be a choir.

“The three speakers will go back now; they all said how impressed they all were with Kilkenny, the people, the whole experience,” said Fr Purcell.

“The feedback was fantastic.

“The merit of these things can often be judged on what happens when it ends, and we have had three emails already from choirs asking to be booked in for next year.”