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Ennis to host major gospel music festival

By Sarah Mac Donald - 31 March, 2015

The 6th annual Gospel Rising Music Festival will see choirs from Ireland and beyond perform in Ennis from 8 - 10 May 2015.

The 6th annual Gospel Rising Music Festival will take place in Ennis, County Clare, from 8th to 10th May 2015. Photo Richard Eibrand Photography.

The 6th annual Gospel Rising Music Festival will take place in Ennis, County Clare, from 8th to 10th May 2015. Photo Richard Eibrand Photography.

Details of Ireland’s biggest gospel music festival, which is due to take place in Ennis in May, have been announced.

The 6th annual Gospel Rising Music Festival will see choirs from all around Ireland and beyond perform in venues throughout Ennis from 8 – 10 May 2015.

The festival has previously been held in Limerick, Bray and Portlaoise.

Leading Irish and international choral experts will facilitate workshops in gospel music, performance and singing for choir and non-choir members.

This year’s Gospel Rising Music Festival is hosted by The Really Truly Joyful Ennis Gospel Choir, and is supported Fáilte Ireland and the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau.

“This is a fun, energetic and inclusive event which calls on all music lovers who are interested in this growing genre of music in Ireland,” according to Lindsay Rountree of the Gospel Rising Music Festival.

He explained that the festival was established by a team of volunteers belonging to several different gospel choirs from all over Ireland.

They saw the potential for a “social, educational and fun event which would bring together lovers of gospel music from all over the country to learn from each other and form networks and friendships.”

“The festival consists of a series of workshops with big and small groups, covering choir harmony singing in gospel styles, different solo singing styles and levels, choreography and big group singing. There are also of course numerous gigs over the whole weekend with many of the gospel choirs that attend the festival keen to get up on stage and show their style of gospel music which makes up this new cosmopolitan genre of music in Ireland,” according to Lindsay Rountree.

“We are delighted to see the festival return to the town where it was first hosted in 2010,” commented Fiona Walsh of The Really Truly Joyful Ennis Gospel Choir.

Shannon and Gardiner Street Gospel Choirs perform as part of RTE's Religious service on Bray Bandstand during a previous the Gospel Rising Music Festival. Photo Richard Eibrand Photography.

Shannon and Gardiner Street Gospel Choirs perform as part of RTE’s Religious service on Bray Bandstand during a previous the Gospel Rising Music Festival. Photo Richard Eibrand Photography.

“With just 150 attending in 2010, it was a great first time round for all participants, experiencing the only gospel music event of its kind in Ireland at the time,” she recalled.

“Now with over 350 attending every year, the Festival continues to bring new workshop facilitators to the fore in Ireland and get as many gospel choirs as possible together to share their work with everyone who attends. We look forward to playing our part in making this year’s event a success,” Fiona Walsh added.

This year’s workshop facilitators are drawn from all over Ireland and UK and include Bazil Meade (founder and principal of the World famous ‘London Community Gospel Choir’) and Karen Gibson (one of the UK’s most respected gospel tutors).

Irish contributors include Kathleen Turner (singer/songwriter and vocal tutor at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance), Edel Meade (award-winning Dublin-based jazz singer, composer and lyricist), Aisling McKenna (soloist and member of the Gardiner Street Gospel Choir and Valley Gospel Singers) and Susan Hurley (Dublin based gospel and folk singer).

“We are delighted to support this music festival and keep it in the Midwest following last year’s hosting of the event in Limerick City,” said Karen Brosnahan, General Manager of the Shannon Region Conference and Sports Bureau.

“There are gospel choirs popping up all around Ireland, and this festival gives non-choir members the opportunity to get that inside look and feel of what happens when they are part of a choir. We are calling on all gospel music enthusiasts to visit Ennis this May and to celebrate the continued rising of gospel music in Ireland,” explained Karen Brosnahan.

Tickets and booking of workshops are available through the Gospel Rising Music Festival website: www.gospelrising.com

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