Chamber Choir of Ireland to give concert at UNO

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By Kristen Cloyed, Entertainment Editor

The National Chamber Choir of Ireland will give a concert at UNO on Friday, Oct. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Strauss Performing Arts Center.

Recognized as Ireland’s most distinguished choral ensemble, the group has been acknowledged internationally for its fresh and innovative sound. Travelling with the choir during its U.S. tour is composer Tarik O’Regan. O’Regan has received two British Composer Awards and two Grammy nominations. The choir will be performing his new work, “Acallam na Senórach.”

“The most important reason for everyone to attend the concert is the chance to hear an amazing choir perform an incredible new work live in performance,” said Matthew Harden, director of Choral Activities and Vocal Area coordinator at UNO. Students with an active MavCard will receive free admission.

UNO was contacted about hosting the Chamber Choir of Ireland over the summer. After the success of hosting the Vienna Boys Choir last year, Harden said the university thought it wouldn’t hurt to put in a bid to host the Irish group this year.

Conductor Paul Hillier will direct the choir. Hillier has won multiple awards and is considered one of the world’s top choral conductors.

“I had the chance to attend a workshop with him almost 20 years ago, and [I] knew that having this opportunity for the music students here at UNO would be significant,” Harden said. “His ability to evoke musical sounds from a group is second to none.”

The choir was founded in 1991 by composer and conductor Colin Mawby, and was developed under the direction of Brazilian conductor Celso Antunes until 2007. In 2008, Hillier joined the group as artistic director and chief conductor.

According to their website, the choir is known for its “unique approach to programming and has gained a reputation for the high artistic quality of its performances.” The group frequently collaborates with international guest conductors and strives to foster the talents of young Irish conductors.

Regardless of a student’s educational path, this concert will provide attendees with exposure to new things. This exposure is another big reason why students should be interested.

“[This concert will provide] exposure to another country’s national choir and people,” Harden said. “Students will have the opportunity to speak with members of the choir following the concert, even have any CDs they purchase autographed. Exposure to a recent composition and the chance to possibly meet the composer. Exposure to how a significant text may be working into a major composition and then be toured around the world.”

The concert is presented by the UNO College of Communication, Fine Arts and Media and the Department of Music. General admission tickets are $30 and may be purchased online at www.unomaha.edu/music/irishchoir.php or by contacting Jennifer Walcutt at (402) 554-3427 or jwalcutt@unomaha.edu. Discount group tickets for educators may also be reserved by contacting Shellie Harden at sharden@unomaha.edu or (402) 554-2177.

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