‘Strabane choir yet to hit its full potential’

STRABANE Chamber Choir has made it two titles from two in recent weeks, following its win at the 30th Sligo International Choral Festival.

The choir, which won the prestigious Mixed Voice Competition at the Derry International Choral Festival just a fortnight ago, is now firmly established as the ones to beat at a national level.

However the local singers’ double success didn’t happened overnight as, according to conductor, Gerard Bradley, the choir went through a long run of placings in competitions without winning anything outright.

“This is the fifth year the choir has been going,” Mr Bradley explained. “We hadn’t won a thing until this year – two weeks ago in Derry – so after Sligo it looks like we’re on a bit of a roll.”

In Derry, Strabane Chamber Choir were four points clear of second place Galway NUI. The choir performed a slow, haunting piece ‘Sleep’ by Eric Whitacre and then contrasted that with an upbeat, fast and fun piece ‘I’m a Train’ by A Hammond.

In Sligo, the local group won the competition outright with their renditions of the Cole Porter classic, ‘Let’s Do It’ and a repeat of ‘I’m a Train.’

“There’s definitely a better buzz among members after these wins,” Mr Bradley continued.

“I can’t pretend it hasn’t been difficult at times. Some of our members are music teachers and musicians with their own commitments and because of that I don’t think we’ve really tapped into our full potential. 

“The last couple of months has been great because people have been able to commit and maybe that has had something to do with our two wins.”

He added, “It great that Strabane, which hasn’t had a community choir in 40 years, are now competing at a national level. We’re competing with the very best in the country – and winning.”

• You can hear Strabane Chamber Choir in concert at the Alley Theatre on Friday December 14, performing a Christmas programme, as well as the songs that brought the recent duo of wins.


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