Beautiful, Sacred Music Filled the Air
Just before 4pm Mass today, Pilgrims shared the wonderfully uplifting experience of hearing Sarah McCourt singing Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Pie Jesu and Shubert’s Ave Maria, along with one of her own father’s compositions, De Profundus. She was accompanied by her father, organist and composer, Brendan McCourt.
I spoke to Sarah before Mass, in the rehearsal space at Simmonscourt in the RDS. She explained that she has grown up with music, singing soprano in St Patrick’s Cathedral choir, Dundalk, where her father is organist, for 10 years. Sarah is currently in the second year of her Masters Degree in Voice, at the Royal Irish Academy. Volunteers working in the rehearsal area were delighted to hear such glorious praise, as also, I imagine, were the pilgrims.
The beautifully balanced- sounding St Eugene’s Cathedral Choir, Derry, were also rehearsing today, singing the parts of the Mass and other pieces in crisp harmony, following the minimal but precise direction of their Musical Director, Sr Perpetua McNulty. I managed to grab a few words with her before they set off for Mass. I learned that they have spent six weeks preparing for this event, which they are thrilled to be attending. Sr Perpetual explained that they were a working choir, singing every Sunday at high Mass in Derry Cathedral (12:30pm), as well as having a repertoire of work. Although they have sung at the Millennium Dome, London, in Rome and for John Hume in Washington, this was described as a major highlight for the choir. Sr Perpetua finished by saying that during Mass, they are just like everyone else, giving praise and glory since “sacred music allows our souls to sing”. As a member of one of the three choirs in my own parish, I couldn’t agree more!
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