On Saturday the 20th of May members of the Mayo Male Voice Choir were treated to a fantastic workshop under the direction and tutelage of Veronica McCarron of Britain’s Got Talent fame. Born in Enniskillen, Co. Fermanagh, Veronica is a BMus, Dip Mus Ed Graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music in Glasgow and University of Perth, Western Australia. She has been teaching for 43 years during which time she has taught in Scotland, Australia, the United States and most recently at the Presentation Secondary School in Kilkenny, Ireland. She has now retired but still travels from Donegal to tutor the choir. From the moment she arrived at the Presentation Secondary School Kilkenny, her passion and enthusiasm for music captured the imagination of the students. Year after year her choirs have achieved the highest honours in some of the most prestigious competitions.
We started a 10am promptly and spent the first part polishing Unchained Melody. We had a brief but pleasant lunch in The Connaught Inn, Spencer Street, Castlebar and returned back to the workshop, which was held in the Regional Training Offices of Mayo County Council, to work on Kum-Bah-Yah and finally, ironically, The Parting Glass.
Overall the workshop was hard work and tiring but immensely enjoyable and undoubtedly and an excellent thing for us to have undertaken. Veronica is a bubbly and energetic tutor who kept us going. We all hope that this workshop session can be a regular event for the choir.
During our workshop Veronica said that a good choir will bring the audience to cry and she is right. I have watched versions of the performance on BGT – see below – and every time without fail I seem to have some malfunction with my eyes that causes them to mist up and water profusely. There are, I must say, very very few artists or choirs that have this effect on me, in fact just one choir – despite the fact that I am a huge fan of Welsh choirs – none of which move me quite like Adiemus from Kilkenny Presentation Girls Choir. Under Veronica’s direction these girls are just brilliant.
Maybe we can engender such emotion in our audiences one day!?