The Cork Choral Festival
By Irish America Staff
April / May 2003
The 49th annual Cork International Choral Festival kicks off May 1 with some 5,000 participants from all over the world expected to flock to Cork.
Choirs participating will come not only from Cork and across Ireland, but also from Russia, Switzerland, Hungary, Latvia, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Norway, and Wales. A highly anticipated competition for youth choirs also brings in talented performers under the age of 24.
Founded in 1954 to develop choral music in Ireland, the Cork festival is touted as one of Europe’s premier international choral festivals and is well known for its high competitive standards.
Each year top amateur international choirs compete for the prestigious Fleischmann International Trophy. Choirs also have an opportunity to perform in a range of activities presented over the course of the weekend, including church and outdoor performances. A nightly festival club is also organized to allow participants to meet informally.
Separate competitions for light, jazz, and popular music are also open to competing choir groups.
The opening concert is May 1 at City Hall, featuring Cork’s own Mary Hegarty performing with the Guinness Choir and Hibernian Orchestra. All in all, the festival is hosting 70 events throughout Cork city and the county.
The festival is not just a prized cultural event that provides a showcase for this durable European art form. It also provides a major boost to the Cork economy, bringing in an estimated two million euros’ worth of business. Already, organizers say, guesthouses and hotels are filling up with bookings from participants and music fans. ♦