DkIT Choir and Chamber Orchestra perform The Rose

The Church of St Joseph provided the stunning backdrop, by kind permission of the Redemptorist Community, for the Institute's annual Christmas Concert presented by Ceol Oirghialla and celebrating the Institute's 40th anniversary. The DkIT Choir and Chamber Orchestra performed to a capacity audience which included guests from RTÉ, Ms Mary Kennedy and Rev Dermod McCarthy, Senator Mary Moran (a DkIT music graduate), and Senator Jim D'Arcy as well as the Chair of Governing Body, Mr Andrew Griffith.

The highlight of the evening was a special performance of music lecturer Siubhán Ó Dubháin's cantata The Rose conducted by Anthony Norton. The audience were captivated by the wonderfully varied music, skilfully crafted by Siubhán into a work of great depth and beauty. Student soloists Dermot O'Connor (Herod), Rachel O'Brien (Mary), James Crehan (Joseph), and Dearbhail Downey (Angel) were joined by two graduates of Ceol Óirgialla, tenor David Lynn and baritone Páidí Ó Dubháin, who, together with Dundalk student Brendan Cleary, made up the three Kings. David and Páidí are both making their mark in the professional world of singing, and they were warmly welcomed back by the students. Four excellent young singers from St. Colman's College, Newry sang the roles of the Shepherd Boy and the Children with great style.

Siubhán had arranged The Rose for DkIT Choir and Orchestra to mark her own 60th birthday as well as the 40th anniversary of the foundation of DkIT, and was very moved by the hard work and professionalism of the students, led by Deidre Eakins, President of the DkIT Choral Society.

The second part of the concert was conducted by David Stalling, and the 120 voice choir singing works by Bruckner and Rachmaninov 'a capella' responded to David's inspiring direction with a magnificently resonant choral sound with meticulous attention to detail. The choristers included young people from every part of Ireland, as well as international and Erasmus students from China, Malaya and Norway.

The winner of the annual Éamonn Ó Gallchobhair Prize for Composition was 3rd year music student and Orchestra leader Clara Taylor. The 2011 award was presented to Clara during the performance by Rev Clement Mac Manúis, Chaplain and music graduate of DkIT.

The performance received great critical acclaim from the audience who expressed their appreciation with a standing ovation. Mary Kennedy from RTÉ said she was struck by the amazing energy, enthusiasm and excellence of the large student choir and Chamber Orchestra and Rev Dermot McCarthy was so deeply moved by the students' performance that he gave great praise to Ceol Oirghialla and the Institute in his RTÉ broadcasts the following week.

The students are now preparing for a second recital in Birr Castle at the invitation of Lord and Lady Rosse, a series of Traditional Music recitals celebrating Seachtain na Gaeilge, performances of The Threepenny Opera and a choral concert in the Redeemer Church, Dundalk.