Deirdre Ní Chaomhánaigh is our MD and founder of Dolce. Thanks to Dolce support, she recently completed the MA in Choral Studies, where she achieved first class honours in every module. She also has an honours degree in music and Irish, and a master’s degree in Irish and Education from TCD, where she was awarded the 5-Year Foundation Scholarship during her 2nd year. She holds 4 diplomas in piano teaching, grade 8 in violin, as well as an honours Higher Diploma in Education. She spent over 15 years teaching music, choir and Irish in 3 different Gaelcholáistí, and has been involved in the writing of several music textbooks for Gaelcholáistí. She has taken conducting classes with Bernie Sherlock, David Brophy and the Kodály Institute of Ireland’s Summer School in Dublin. She is planning to undertake a PhD in composition in DCU from September 2022.
Her hobbies include sport (jogging, swimming, cycling, tennis), languages (fluent Irish speaker, working towards fluency in German and French, and has some Scots Gaelic), nutrition as a form of medicine, and reading in various languages. She directs, and sings with, Dolcissimo, an eight-person vocal harmony group, which developed from Dolce. She also plays the piano and violin with the Raheny Folk Group, where she has been a member for many years.
- 2019 – present: Directing, and singing with, Dolcissimo.
- 2019-2021: MA in Choral Studies (first class honours)
- 2005 – present: Musical Director of Dolce
- 2005 – 2009: Deirdre is also musical director of Dolcissimo, a close harmony group born from Dolce members.
- 1995 – 2005: Deirdre ventured into choral singing in 1995 when she joined the Dublin Airport Singers, and was appointed assistant musical director soon afterwards.
My aim for Dolce, which has developed over the years as I myself developed as musical director, is many faceted. Central to Dolce is the sense of community, enjoyment, and the expression of the emotions inherent in the music we sing. There is something incredibly powerful created when a group of people come together with a united goal, in our case, the expression of the music. I constantly tell the choir that our aim is to make the audience feel, react emotionally, and even cry! After a concert I am most pleased when the feedback we get from the audience is that they were moved by our music.
We can only produce results like this when the group is united as a team, and teamwork where every member contributes to the music is essential. In order to motivate the members to want to work as a team, we strive to ensure that what we do is fun, and that the results of the teamwork are consistently good. There’s no point in being united for a cause if there is no pleasure to be had from it, so I focus on positivity, and try to smile as much as possible during rehearsals!
I encourage the singers to feel as deeply as they can the emotion that each song expresses. It’s only when we really feel the emotion that we can judge whether our performance was good or not. Making that emotional connection to an audience during performance is central to Dolce.
Yes, notes and rhythm, tuning, sightreading and vocal development are all an essential part of our weekly work, but having them with no emotion leaves an empty performance. On the other hand, moving the audience is the musical equivalent to striking the jackpot, and small imperfections in other areas can be more easily forgiven.
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