Deirdre ventured into choral singing in 1995 when she joined the Dublin Airport Singers, and was appointed assistant musical director soon afterwards. In 2005 she decided to set up her own singing group as an experiment to see if she had any talent for conducting, and along with 15 others formed Canaigí Cantabile (later changed to Dolce). Having entered the Oireachtas and won first prize they took this as a good omen, went out and found a practice venue, looked for new members and Dolce was born.
The first few years were difficult with 20 – 25 members on the books and fewer at weekly rehearsals but they ploughed ahead. The feedback from adjudicators at competitions were always positive, and focused on the great potential of the choir. Competitions in Sligo, Kiloole, the Oireachtas, the Feis Ceoil and Cork were the aim of the choir throughout the years, and there were enough prizes won over the years to reward the members for their continuing faith.
In 2008/9 choir membership rose enough (to around 30) for the choir to consider putting on a concert – one for Christmas and one for the summer season. The church in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra was chosen for Christmas and the Artane School of Music as the venue for the summer concert. Both concerts were a huge success and greatly appreciated by the audience.
Mainly as a result of public performances but also due to a constantly improving musical standard, numbers in the choir increased hugely when 30 new members turned up on the night of the first rehearsal in September 2009. This was unexpected and they had to move out of their practice room and into a much larger hall to cater for the increased numbers. By the time the Christmas concert came around they had 75 members.
Since then numbers have been steady at 60+ members, and success has continued with prizes in various choral festivals including Cork, Feis Ceoil, an tOireachtas, Navan, New Ross, Arklow. Dolce has travelled abroad to Bilbao (2014) as well as welcoming choirs from various countries in Europe (Germany (3), Norway, Sweden and Spain) to sing here in Dublin.
Celebrating the 10th Anniversary (May 2015) of the founding of the choir was the first really big milestone, and a reminder of how far the choir has come since the early days of wondering if there’d be enough people at a rehearsal to continue!