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The Dublin Gospel Choir will sing at the 7pm Sunday Mass on the 21st of December in our Friary Church, Church St. D7. This will be the last Gospel Mass until February and so will be a very festive occasion. The DGC will stay on to perform a “mini” concert featuring Christmas Songs after the Mass. All are welcome. A special Blessing for Christmas will be given to all the chidren that attend!
Come along and help us prepare for Christmas the Gospel Way!
All are welcome to come and pray for our students at this testing time of year!
Peace and Blessing
For the third year in a row we had the privilege of opening the main stage on the Sunday Morning before a crowd that quickly grew to around 3,000 festival goers. The DGC once again proving that it’s truly “festival fit” and that we will go anywhere there are people who will listen to our music and be open to its message! Once our new brass section kicked in for our opening Anthem of Praise there were very few who could stay asleep buried in their tents and we soon had the festival hopping again after the craziness of Saturday Night!
Later in the day we were delighted to perform a smaller gig at the World Vision Tent to assist their campaign to get 1,000 new child sponsors for Africa. Someone was certainly smiling on us for just as we hit the opening Chorus of “Lovely Day!” the clouds pulled back and the sun shone for the only time that day…yup it’s good to have friends in high places…
If you’d like to have a look at the EP performances check out our pics page!
As well as our Tour about to start we are really happy to be returning to our home venue this coming Sunday the 16th of Sept at 7pm for the first of our regular Candle-lit Gospel Masses. Always drawing a huge crowd, this is an opportunity for you to join us and listen to our music in a Church context, in the birthplace of Gospel Music in Ireland, the Church of St. Mary of the Angels, Church St. D7, (just beside the Four Courts). The Choir will be in residence there on the first and third Sundays of the Month from now until the Christmas Break so feel free to come along!
For more news, dates and info check out our website www.dublingospelchoir.com
Peace to you all!
One of the great compliments often levelled at the DGC is their tremendous “enthusiasm”…a contagious joy that often has the whole house singing and dancing by the end of a night’s performance. Well I can testify that the enthusiasm shown at those performances is not an act… rather it comes from a deep appreciation of the music we sing and of the privilege it is to be part of the DGC. Every year we hold auditions for choir members… a few talented souls are asked to join but often after a few months one or two drift off, having come to the conclusion that the DGC is not for them. We wish them well and bless their future… but what is more extraordinary is to watch those that stay, and to see them gradually become filled with that gift of enthusiasm for the music and for the DGC. Often when joining they know next to nothing about Gospel, its themes or its history. They’ve seen…or in a few cases just heard…the DGC and something in their heart has responded. And so, it’s a joy to watch them grow and change over their first year or so in the choir as they come to know gospel and its message and realise that, though they may have joined for various reasons, the DGC experience asks for more than just commitment or talent…it asks for heart and soul…because without that there is no Gospel music…there is no DGC…there is no enthusiasm…
And you know it’s no accident that the word enthusiasm is used for the DGC. The ancient roots of the word come from the Greek, en-theos, literally to be filled with God. And so we believe that when our hearts are open, and band and choir are in harmony, after all the countless hours of rehearsal and the painstking and sometimes painful process of putting it all together is done, the DGC is more than the sum of it’s parts.. it is “enthused”…God filled…and that speaks and sings to the hearts of those that listen… So here’s a summer invite…find us, come listen and be part of tha DGC joy! Our dates are on our calendar on this site, or check us out on Bebo… we’ll be waiting…
OK…so you’re back and I bet you’re humming at least one of the tracks and have already made up your mind to go get the album…So let’s talk about it for a mo… Aptly titled “Moving On” it is a celebration of ten years of Gospel Music in Ireland as well as looking forward to all that is yet to come. Yes, in 1996 when there were far less grey hairs upon this head of mine, we saw the first Gospel Concert take place in our little Capuchin Franciscan Church of St. Mary of the Angels, Church st. D7. Little did I suspect that ten years later Gospel would still be at the centre of my work and that the DGC would have been formed from that first choir over the intervening years.
You can be sure that there has been a lot of learning over those years and many blessings received, and friendships made (and even a few tears wiped away); but perhaps the greatest joy is seeing so many people in so many places being touched by the Spirit and message of the Gospel through the DGC. I’ve seen people brought to tears of joy and healing through the music, and we have even left a trail of Gospel Choirs behind us in many of the parishes and youth groups we have worked with. I’ve seen theatre audiences on their feet shouting for more and churches full of young people where before they have been half empty. You see, from the start of Gospel in Church St we have always seen ourselves as Franciscan in spirit and inspiration. Now St. Francis didn’t wait for people to come to him to hear the Gospel being preached, oh no! He went out to the people and preached and sang wherever and whenever he could get them to listen… and that is the spirit of the DGC too! We will not confine this music and its message to a Church building…we go wherever the Spirit has provided hearts to hear, hands to clap and feet to dance! And you know what? In going out like that to theatres and venues up and down the country…we have brought many of our listeners back to celebrate Gospel Music in Church with us.
In a very real way that is what this Album celebrates, that for the past ten years a quiet revolution has been taking place in Churches and Communities and Theatres up and down the country, a Gospel Revolution! Last night we sang in a little, but very fine, theatre in Ratoath to a crowd that had largely never heard us perform before…and once again I saw the music of the DGC touch the spirit of that crowd until in the end they were shouting for more and the manager was saying he wanted us back there again… Yes, something powerful and blessed had happened, something that has been happening for the past ten years wherever Gospel Music has been sung…something that we hope will happen for a very long time to come as we keep “Moving On” into the future, and who knows something that may even happen to you as you listen to the message behind the music of the DGC! The eternal message of the Gospel. So come on, celebrate with us this milestone in Gospel Music history in Ireland and come see us soon…we’ll be expecting you!
Until the next time…and I promise it won’t be so long!
Peace and Blessing to you all!
Climbing the stairs to the main stage was a once in a lifetime buzz, like climbing the stairs to the stage at Wembley Stadium for Live Aid 1985. The stage was enormous and gave us plenty of room to move and shake ourselves loose. The atmosphere amongst the choir was giddy and electric. As the gates opened and the crowd began to fill the field in front of us, a shiver went down my spine and I thought of all the good stuff that had led us to this point, singing with James Brown, Hothouse Flowers, The Chieftains, Riverdance, John Legend and I thought of all the hard work and determination that has gone into the choir. All of that hard work was to pay off in spades as we began our set. From the beginning the vibe was magnetic and all seemed in unison, in one voice, in perfect harmony with our band, Paul on sound and Orla, our choir leader. We were rewarded with some amazing audience participation and response. I remember Owen our bass player looked out at the huge crowd and how he couldn’t get over how many faces were out there. Those magic moments were compounded by the guest appearance with us on stage of Ireland’s premier soul sister, Laura Izabor. What a voice and talent! Another magical moment.
After the high of the main stage it was our duty to explore and experience the picnic and to spread ourselves throughout the site. A highlight for me included stumbling upon Joe Rooney and Aidan Bishop’s show in the comedy tent. I’ll never be able to listen to those radio ads for mastitis again! A really special moment was grooving to Hot Chip in the Electric Arena tent. Exploring the site was constantly stimulating, one of the great pleasures was simply wandering into a great show like Grand Master Flash and just enjoying stuff that wouldn’t normally be on the iPod. Hopefully that’s what happened to many of those festival goers who made their way to our shows on the day.
As the afternoon wore on we started to gather and regroup for the late evening show at the Big Tree Stage. We spent some time backstage with Paul Noonan rehearsing “Flame” for later that evening. Lisa Hannigan then joined us for “Grand-Ma’s Hands/No Diggity”. The venue was so cool, a small but well appointed chill out tent with elaborate eastern cushions and what seemed like Arabian carpets. Dublin Gospel Choir singing songs in the round with Paul, Lisa and then Damien Rice, backstage in a relaxed and chilled environment, what more could you ask for?
As the clock ticked closer and closer to 9pm the pre-stage excitement began to build again and I remember everyone pacing up and down backstage warming up and occasionally sharing some words with the other artists. What a friendly vibe! Just like the festival itself everyone was warm and welcoming. I remember sneaking a quick look at the crowd in the dark and seeing eyes and faces stretching back for what seemed like forever. Again when we arrived on stage we found a huge crowd facing us, pretty cool when you consider that Basement Jaxx were about to take to the main stage. The reaction we received was tangible and like a pot coming to the boil, the energy level amongst the crowd drove us on to give it our all for the second time that day. Electric Picnic really brought home to me the importance of the energy level of an audience and how it’s the audience that makes the show really really really special. After completing our own set the time came for us to share the stage with Ireland’s most talented artists, Paul, Lisa and Damien. Wow the crowd really loved them all. Paul was first up with Flame and everyone; I mean everyone was singing along! Lisa then wowed the crowd with a haunting version of Grand-Ma’s hands and then Damien finished the set with an amazing version of “Still Haven’t Found”. It was really an honour to share the stage with these guys and to watch them weave their magic up close. Thanks guys!
Well what can I say, the day was coming to a close but there was one final piece of magic left, Basement Jaxx on the main stage which we used to unwind after the long day. A perfect end to a perfect day and it was great to see friends of DGC, singers from the London Community Gospel Choir giving it loads onstage with Basement Jaxx.
The bus ride home was special too sharing the day’s experiences with everyone, singing songs and swapping Picnic stories. Best day of my life, period, Sweet Dreams are Made of These….Peace…Kealan 12th September 2006.]]>
So what have we been up to? It’s been deceptively quiet-ish on the gig front for the past few months, because of our really-quite-exciting new project which I’ll mention later. We’ve just started our summer break from the fortnightly masses on Church Street, which I’m missing already. Oh and we’re featured on the Bupa ad that’s currently on your television screens (possibly not right at this minute, but you know).
My favourite event of the past few months has to be last night though - we did a Night of Soul on our home patch, in St. Mary of the Angels Church on Church St., and if anyone who came along is reading this, fair play to you for coming and thanks for the amazing atmosphere! There’s no need to put too fine a point on it, but I loved every minute of it, and I think it was a very special gig. So thanks!
But yeah, exciting things on the DGC-related horizon include: Electric Picnic (I’m literally counting the minutes - only 80,639 to go!) and a special performance in the National Concert Hall with The Chieftans in August. Possibly the most exciting thing (possibly ever) is happening right now though, because as of today, the recording of our new album has begun. The blog will be updated more regularly throughout the recording process. Or at least that’s the idea. But ciao for now.
There are loads of great things about being in the Dublin Gospel Choir, or the DGC as we like to say sometimes (can you crack the code?). For example, having a ticket to see one of your favourite singers (in this case John Legend) and then finding out you’ll be backing him up onstage. Or performing on the main stage at Electric Picnic and, instead of getting bottled as you might have feared, actually getting a rapturous reception from the crowd. Plus, there’s the pretending-you’re-in-Sister-Act-3 angle. Always fun.
In amongst the great things are the Nights of Soul. If you didn’t know, we regularly do these full concerts in churches around the country in association with the CYC. In terms of the setlist, they’re almost identical to our theatre concerts but they have a unique atmosphere that’s hard to define, but I suppose it might be one of celebration, which makes sense given where they take place. And it’s a cliché, but it’s true - there really is a cross-section of the community there, from teenagers to elderly couples to hordes of kids running around the place and then gathering in front of the altar, dancing away.
It hasn’t quite been all good experiences for me at Nights of Soul though. At one recent show, let’s just say I had one too many bottles of water and found myself caught short two songs into the second half. Suddenly, our song ‘I Almost Let Go’ took on a new, deeply personal significance. But happily for everyone concerned, I got through it - mainly by jogging on the spot in-between songs.
Nobody really wants to read about this do they.
But yeah, Nights of Soul are quickly becoming my most favourite thing about the choir, and I’m almost ready to get over the fact that our commitment to one concert meant we couldn’t perform with Kanye West during his recent Point gigs. Almost.
Might as well plug our next one - it’s in the Navan Road parish on March 31st and tickets are available from the parish office!
If you’ve been to see us recently - or ever! - why not leave a comment after this post? It’d be great to hear what you thought…
Sticking to the sugary theme, it’s probably a good time to mention our gig tonight in the SUGAR CLUB (see how it all ties together?? Genius, if I do say so myself) on Leeson St. We played there last year as part of our Revelation tour, and the atmosphere was just electric! I’m really looking forward to tonight, not least because it’s been AGES since our last full concert.
So over the past few weeks we’ve been dry-cleaning our robes, warming our vocal chords and brushing up on our dance moves - it’s not all swaying and clapping, you know!! Although there is quite a bit of both. Basically, we’re more than ready to push the right buttons (the Sugababes thing is getting a bit tiresome now isn’t it) and put on the best show we can!
So to anyone who’s coming, prepare for gospel overload (!), but don’t forget to arrive at around (round) 7:30 for an 8pm start.
See you there!
Our other rehearsal of the week concentrates on our songs. It’s a really exciting time for the choir, what with our coachload of new members about to make their spectacular debuts (no pressure guys), and a certain project coming up later in the year which may or may not be top-secret but let’s just say it’s circular and rhymes with balbum. This week, we hit the ground running, starting work on two new songs, ‘Let It Rain’ and ‘Because Of Who You Are’. They’re both marvellous and I can’t wait to start performing them. So it’s just as well we’re thinking of doing the latter this Sunday, February 5th, at Mass (7pm at St. Mary of the Angels Church on Church Street), because I’m very impatient. There’s other new material on the way too, and hopefully we’ll be able to fit some of it into our set for our concert in the Sugar Club on the 17th of February (tickets available now from the “Upcoming Events” page of our website)
It wouldn’t be a blog post by me without a random choir photograph, so here’s one of us looking extra moody during our performance with Riverdance in Ballyfermot last year. That was my first proper gig with the choir, and what a way to start!
That’ll do for now!