Sunday, September 2, 2012

Backstage: Dublin

It's not often that a member of the Notre Dame Folk Choir gets a vantage point like the one we had a few hours ago. Normally, what we see and hear is taken in from a church loft or the sanctuary of some sacred space. But on Friday night, the ensemble collaborated with a collection of musicians seldom gathered together on one stage: AnĂșna, Liam O'Flynn, the High Kings, Anthony Kearns – these were just a few. Throw into the mix a huge serving of the members of the Notre Dame Marching Band and three dozen of the Folk Choir, and you get a production, the likes of which hasn't been seen on the banks of the River Liffey.

Months and months ago, there was a meeting in Dublin, at Staunton's On the Green: John Kennedy, the executive producer, Noel Eccles, the music director, and their assistants asked me to sit in on a dialog about what this celebration would look like. The elements were staggeringly diverse: a marching band, trad Irish bands, singers, a comedian (Martin Short), a pep rally-like feel, a talk show and a sentimental homecoming, all thrown in together.

How in the name of Saint Patrick could they pull all of these elements together?

I have to say, even from my own perspective backstage, the writers and producers of this homecoming did a simply amazing job of weaving the whole thing together. At times both contemporary and yet deeply cognizant of their rich Irish traditions, the whole night was a joyful reunion of two great families: the returning Notre Dame community, and their kin from Eire, welcoming them home again.

Click HERE to go to RTE's main page (you may have to download the RTE player, which is a free app). A quick word of advice – take in the whole show! The Folk Choir sings at several places (I'm not going to tell you when), but each time is with a singer or ensemble that represents an amazing contribution to the Irish musical landscape.

Of all these collaborations, though, I think it would be fair to say that there is now a very special bond between the Folk Choir and AnĂșna. We worked very hard on our Irish and Scots-Gaelic pieces, but so much more than that. Michael McGlynn is one masterful choral director, and the singers he has accepted and formed into his ensemble are fabulous men and women. It would be safe to say that we anticipate other chances to work together in the future!

More on Dublin and our labors in the next post!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:The O2 Centre, Dublin, Ireland

1 comment:

  1. We watched the RTE stream live on Friday and thoroughly enjoyed it. I showed my children Anuna (we have a CD) and the Folk Choir. My 4-year-old wanted to know where I was in the choir, LOL. But all of you did a masterful job. It was difficult to tell who was Anuna and who were folkheads. Did they use all 3 dozen of you or were there only a few sprinkled throughout? We did see you!

    What an amazing experience for all of you!