Sunday 22nd May…9.30 am…. Dominican College Griffith Avenue…Lovely bright sunny morning…We’re all on the bus (well, most of us..some are travelling separately..).
Lorcan does a roll-call, and away we go.
The journey to New Ross passes pleasantly and we arrive in good spirits.We find the restaurant where a snack lunch awaits us (well organised, Lorcan) and from there we make our way to the school where we rehearse. Poor Deirdre has been unwell all week but she still puts us through our paces. After our great success in Cork we are SO determined to do well here.
Then on we go to the parish church where we will be singing in the Sacred Music competition. We have to wait a while in the church yard for our cue to enter: thankfully it is dry, if breezy. Then it’s our turn: in we go, and up on a rather cramped set of steps. Deirdre gets the nod from the adjudicators. Here we go. ‘Cibavit eos…’ the voices sing out. Lovely sound. It goes well. Then ‘God so loved the World…’ It never sounded better. Pure gorgeous. Well, that’s how it sounded to me anyway. Lovely acoustics in the church. Lovely soft notes. Deirdre seemed pleased.
We had a few hours to spare before the next practice , so some went for a ramble around the town, while others went in to the church to hear the other choirs. They were impressive: the competition here is definitely hot….
New Ross must be the hilliest town in Ireland: lots of little streets going up and down, back and around. The Main Street had a nice, low-key festive feel, with lots of little tables where people were dining and wining in the May sunshine, and people coming and going to St Michael’s Theatre where other competitions were being held. Jan-Henning was highly impressed by the standard in the Musical Cameo competition.
Reluctantly we headed back to the school to practise for our second competition at 5.30. The practice went well: we even found a new dimension in ‘Cromer’. Back over to the church… the usual wait…then in we go again, up on those cramped steps (hey guys: this competition is ‘For mixed choirs, with 40 voices and over’: how do you fit more than 40 people on those steps?)
Deirdre gets the nod again, and away we go again. ‘Were you there..?’ It goes well. Then our two ‘nonsense songs’. The audience liked ‘The old lady of France’ but they just LOVED ‘Cromer’. Lots of hearty laughter. We just hoped the adjudicators liked it as much.
Out into the sunshine. Job done, and well done!! We have some time to spare before the adjudication in the Theatre. A pint would be just perfect now. The Waterford Male Voice Choir are in full voice in the Main Street (…coincidentally outside a Licensed Premises…). Yes. I like this..
Adjudication time approaches, so we go into the Theatre. The prizes are all on display on the stage, glittering in the stage lighting. Will we be taking any of these home??? Time drags a bit and then the adjudicators come on stage. It seems to take ages before they come to our competitions. Eventually they announce ‘Sacred Music:… Second Place ..Cantairi Avondale’. Did we WIN? ‘First Place, with 90 marks…Voci’. Awwwww… Definitely a let-down. Not even placed. Never mind: maybe we won the other competition? ‘Second Place, with 86 marks…Dolce’ Somehow it didn’t really feel like an award, after our success in Cork. ‘First Place, with 88 marks,.. Cantairi Avondale’. Them again. (And they won a third competition too. They must be really good: pity we didn’t get to hear them.) Well…with competitions you can never tell. Besides your own performance there are always the competitors, and the vagaries of judges. And twelve of the choir who sang in Cork couldn’t be with us in New Ross. We missed them. Anyway we sang well. We got 86 marks in both competitions, which is a very good score. And yes, we did come home with a prize. Plenty to be proud of.
Somewhat deflated we got back on our bus for the journey home. A guitar appeared, and we sang song after song after song after song…non-stop all the way to Griffith Avenue. The journey home just flew. Disappointed souls were healed by the magic of song.
How music can just lift the spirit….
Sure isn’t that why we’re all in the choir in the first place???