About Us

Short story about us
Wexford Festival Singers is a classical music mixed-voice choir. We sing a range of music from the major classical works to contemporary pieces and perform a number of concerts each year.

 

Members hail from the counties of Wexford, Waterford, Carlow, Kilkenny and Wicklow and include singers of all ages, backgrounds, occupations and personal interests. We share a common bond – a love of music and the desire to share it with the community.

History

Wexford Festival Singers (WFS) was established in 1975 and since its foundation up to recent years the choir has sung in almost every Wexford Festival Opera. WFS has performed many of the great works in the choral repertoire including the Requiems of Brahms, Cherubini and Fauré, Rossini’s and Dvorák’s Stabat Mater and Stravinsky’s Les Noces.

Music Director

Kevin O’Carroll

 

Kevin O’Carroll started his formal music education by attaining a scholarship to the renowned Schola Cantorum at St. Finian’s College, Mullingar.  At that time, he also studied French horn with Victor Malirsh by way of scholarship from the Irish Youth Orchestra.  In 1980, Kevin managed to get a “real” job – though leaving the bank in 2009 to become a full time freelance musician.  During that 29 year period he was busy with his musical life, working with choirs and musical societies in addition to freelancing as a French horn player.  From 1981 to 1996 he was Organist and Choirmaster at the Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity, Waterford.

 

Since 1995 Kevin has been studying in order to increase his specialist choral knowledge.   In that time, he studied conducting with the internationally renowned conducting pedagogue and clinician, Dr. John Dickson at TTU, USA.   He has also worked with David Hill (King’s College, Cambridge), Tim Brown (Clare College, Cambridge) as well as the well-known British composer and conductor Bob Chilcott.

 

Now recognised nationally as a choral specialist Kevin is in demand as a teacher and choral consultant for workshops and guest lectures.  At the request of their well-known conductor, David Brophy, he provided workshops for Dun Laoighre Choral Society.  Kevin’s work on the blend of the group was described as nothing short of a transformation by Mr Brophy.  Kevin has worked with choirs all over Ireland from Cork to Derry and Wexford to Castlebar.  He has also provided workshops for groups from the USA and Finland.

 

Kevin has been adjudicator for most choral competitions in Ireland including Navan Choral Festival, New Ross Choral Festival, Arklow Music Festival, Limerick’s Choral Festival and Cork Choral Festival amongst others.  He has been both Guest Director and Tutor for Special Choir at the Irish Church Music Association Summer School and has provided lectures at the Irish Association of Choirs Summer School.

 

He lectures for the Post-Graduate Diploma in Choral Conducting at St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra (DCU) and also provides lectures on conducting for NUI Maynooth.  He also teaches Vocal Ensemble at the University of Limerick.  He is a member of the Panel of Examiners with the Royal Irish Academy of Music.  In 2012, Kevin published the first book on choral conducting specifically for the Irish market.  This book is used as a text book in a number of colleges and universities.

 

Kevin has conducted many premier performances of choral music and his premiers include works by Eric Sweeney, Marion Ingoldsby, Greg Scanlon and Colin Mawby.  An occasional composer himself, Kevin’s compositions have been broadcast on national radio in Ireland and in the USA.  He has also worked on many larger canvas works including Brahms Requiem, Mozart Requiem, Fauré Requiem, Durlflé Requem, Dvorak Te Deum, Rutter Magnificat, Rutter Requiem, Jenkins The Armed Man, Mozart Sparrow Mass in addition to conducting many other unaccompanied polyphonic masses by Palestrina, Byrd, Lassus etc.  He has also explored some lesser known works such as Pergolesi’s Magnificat and the Funeral Sentences by Henry Purcell.

 

In recent years he has brought a number of choirs together to work with Waterford Concert Orchestra on choral pieces used in feature films – Lacrymosa (Amadeus), Hymn to the Fallen (Saving Private Ryan) and many more.   He has also presented an evening with soloists, choir and orchestra dedicated to the music of Rodgers & Hammerstein.  This lighter programming has proved very popular with both choirs and audiences and promises to grow audience numbers for the future.  For the last twenty four years he has conducted a Christmas Concert for charity and raised many well over €100,000 in the process.  His Christmas presentation of The Snowman where the film is accompanied by a live performance of the music by Waterford Concert Orchestra has been very popular also.

 

Over the years, Kevin has conducted groups from many countries including Sweden, Denmark, Estonia, Australia, Taiwan and the USA.  Equally at home in front of orchestra, choir or musical theatre groups, he has been guest conductor for musical societies in Ireland, Scotland and Wales.  In addition to working with community choirs Madrigallery and Wexford Festival Singers Kevin also founded a professional choral ensemble, Vocalis, and Waterford Concert Orchestra.

 

Kevin’s work is not confined to the podium and he still operates as a freelance French horn player playing on occasion with such groups as the National Symphony Orchestra, Irish Film Orchestra and Wexford Festival Orchestra in addition to regularly playing in the orchestra for south east based musical theatre groups.

 

Kevin holds a Diploma in Choral Conducting from ABRSM, a B.A. (Hons.) in Music and Business Management and a Master of Music degree in Choral Conducting performance. He is currently working on a PhD Arts Practice through the University of Limerick where his project explors the impact of modern music notation on the performance practice of Renaissance polyphony.

Timeline and Highlights

2016

 

A Nation’s Voice

Wexford Festival Singers participated in an official event, part of the State’s commemoration of the events of 1916, at Collins Barracks, Dublin on Easter Sunday 2016 when they joined with adult and childrens’ choirs to perform the premier of  a specially commissioned work by Shaun Davey and Paul Muldoon, One Hundred Years a Nation. The programme also included a performance of the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah.

The work “One Hundred Years a Nation”  was composed for the centenary event and features a narrator , massed choirs and orchestra. On this occasion , the choir was accompanied by the RTE National  Symphony Orchestra and the performance was televised live on RTE.

 

Wexford Proms

Wexford Festival Singers and Wexford Sinfonia with conductor Fergus Sheil presented the Wexford Proms 2106 at the National Opera House , High Street , Wexford on Saturday 6th February .

Featuring the most beloved operatic songs and choruses of Puccini, Rossini and Verdi, the programme  showcased the voice of four outstanding soloists, Rachel Croash, soprano, Kate Allen, mezzo, Jonathan Stoughton, tenor and Gavin Ring, Baritone.

 

2015

 

Dvorak Mass in D Major

Wexford Festival Singers performed Dvorak Mass in D Major at Rowe Street Church in Wexford Town on the 1st November 2015.

 

2013

 

Verdi’s Requiem

Performance of Verdi’s Requiem at The Wexford Opera House with Gorey and Enniscorthy Choral Societies, Vocare and the Wexford Sinfonia under the Baton of Fergus Sheil to a sell out Opera House and standing ovation.

 

Winner at Gorey Choral competition

 

2012

 

Choral Odyssey

A musical journey comprising works by Handel, Bach, Wagner, Mozart, Schubert, Hayden, Jenkins, Mendlessohn, Robertson, Strauss and Lauridsen.

 

2011

 

Fauré Requiem

Fauré Requiem and Vasks Dona Nobis Pacem at Rowe St Church, Wexford.

 

2008

 

Orff Carmina Burana

Carmina Burana by Carl Orff in the 2008 Opera Festival.

 

2007

 

Haydn The Creation

Wexford Opera Haydn’s oratorio, The Creation.

 

2006

 

Cinema Choral Classics

The choir joined the National Philharmonic Choir and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra in the National Concert Hall for a Lyric FM concert of cinema choral classics ranging from Amadeus to The Lion King.

 

Jenkins The Armed Man

The Armed Man by Karl Jenkins with Madrigallery (Waterford) and the Orchestra of St. Cecilia.

 

2005

 

A Child of our Time

Wexford Opera Festival – A Child of Our Time (Festival 2005).

 

2004

 

Gounod, Puccini and Rossini

Gounod’s Messe Solennelle de Sainte Cécile, Puccini’s Messe di Gloria (both with the RTÉ Concert Orchestra), Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle (Festival 2004) and Tippett’s oratorio.

Basic List

Our Repertoire

Our repertoire includes the following plus many more!
  • Bach, J.S. Magnificat in D Major, Uns ist ein Kind Geboren, St. Matthew Passion, Jesu, Meine Freude
  • Beethoven Mass in C, Symphony No.9, Choral Fantasie
  • Bellini Mass in D
  • Brahms A German Requiem, Schicksalslied
  • Bruckner Te Deum
  • Charpentier Messe de Minuit
  • Cherubini Requiem in C minor
  • Cutts The Windhover
  • Duruflé Requiem
  • Dvorák Te Deum, Stabat Mater
  • Elgar Dream of Gerontius
  • Fauré Requiem
  • Furlong Mass of Thanksgiving
  • Gounod Messe Solennelle de Sainte Cécile
  • Handel L’Allegro, Il Penseroso ed il Moderato, Messiah, Zadok The Priest
  • Haydn Nelson Mass, Te Deum, Harmoniemesse, Paukenmesse, The Creation, The Seasons
  • Jenkins The Armed Man
  • Monteverdi Beatus Vir
  • Mozart Coronation Mass, Requiem, Mass in C minor, Laudate Dominum
  • Orff Carmina Burana
  • Perosi Transitus Animae, Il Natale del Redentore
  • Poulenc Gloria
  • Puccini Messe di Gloria
  • Rossini Stabat Mater, Petite Messe Solennelle
  • Rutter Sprig of Thyme
  • Schubert Mass in A Flat, Mass in E Flat, Stabat Mater (D.383)
  • Stravinsky Les Noces
  • Verdi Four Sacred Pieces, Requiem
  • Vivaldi Gloria