Music Matters

Organ Scholar
Our Organ Scholar Jack Doherty has just completed the first year of the Archbishop of Dublin’s Certificate in Church Music. In addition to singing with the Choral Scholars and playing a couple of times at services in our grouped parishes, Jack has also undertaken work experience as part of the ACCM in Monkstown Parish. Jack hopes to begin Year 2 of the ACCM course in September.

Choral Scholars
It has been a very enjoyable and productive year for the Choral Scholars, who sang in a number of events along with the Choral Union, as well as performing on their own. Rachel Talbot, vocal tutor, has had to take time off recently for health reasons, and since then Judith Lyons has acted as vocal tutor. We are grateful to Judith for stepping in to this role and wish Rachel a speedy recovery. There are vacancies in the Choral Scholars for September for boys and girls aged 12 upwards: please contact David O’Shea ( for more details.

Choral Union
The recent Choral Evensong and Summer Concert brought to a close a very successful first year for the Choral Union, which also included numerous special services and the Holy Week performance of Stainer’s Crucifixion. Next year we plan to present a concert of another major work from the choral repertoire as well as seasonal concerts and special services. New members in all parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass) would be very welcome. Please contact David O’Shea (

Singing Experience in ‘The Crucifixion’ at Sandford Parish Church
I joined the Choral Scholars in September 2017. David O’Shea helped to improve my singing and helped me to read music. Rachel Talbot always helped us out in rehearsals to get us ready. I enjoy singing, being with friends and making new friends. Every now and then, we had a major piece coming up and we practised for it. But The Crucifixion was a humungous piece and we needed to do a lot of practising particularly for it. Sometimes there were extra rehearsals for it.

The Crucifixion was written by a composer called John Stainer. It tells the story of the crucifixion of Christ and lasts about an hour. It is a big piece for a choir, soloists and an organist, and so a very ambitious piece. We sang with the Choral Union and also some visiting singers. There were also two excellent soloists called Michael Lee and Warwick Harte who never had a flaw in their singing. We performed in Sandford Parish Church on Wednesday 28 March. That night, David O’Shea was conducting and we had a guest organist called David Leigh. We all had to dress up in white shirts and black trousers or skirts. There was a big audience to hear us sing. It felt very joyful to be singing and to feel part of such a big production. I’ve asked around some of the audience members and they said: ‘Absolutely brilliant’, ‘Beautiful singing’ and ‘Fantastic achievement’! I really enjoy the Choral Scholars and would encourage more people to join. Tom Leahy aged 13 (Choral Scholars)

Stainer’s Crucifixion
On Wednesday 28 March during Holy Week the Sandford and St Philip’s Choral Union performed Sir John Stainer’s oratorio ‘The Crucifixion’ in Sandford Church. The soloists were Warwick Harte (Tenor) and Michael Lee (Bass) and the organist was David Leigh of St Patrick’s Cathedral. Members of the Choral Scholars also took on solo parts. Months of rehearsals under the inspired direction of our Choir Director and Organist David O’Shea culminated in a thrilling and dramatic rendition of this work, which vividly portrays the events of the Passion of Christ. The performance was well attended and also demonstrated the range and sound quality of the newly refurbished organ in Sandford.

The concert was the most ambitious undertaken so far by the Choral Union whose members come from both parish choirs and from the local community. We all love to sing and being part of this group is a fantastic opportunity to broaden our repertoire. Kristina Odlum (Choral Union)

Choral Compline
Choral Compline has finished for the summer months and it is hoped that these reflective services will recommence in the Autumn.

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