Thirteen of the finest emerging choral singers from across Ireland have now been selected to take part in the first year of Chamber Choir Ireland’s training programme, the CCI Studio which gets under way with an introductory weekend from 17-19 November 2023.
The CCI Studio has been established to offer a dedicated training and development programme to young singers, equipping them with the necessary skills and experience to pursue a professional choral career.
The selection process for singers for this inaugural programme was highly competitive, with applicants requiring a high standard of performance and musicianship.
With plans for the CCI Studio singers to perform as an ensemble in the coming year, the final selection of 13 candidates was also made with a view to creating a beautiful balanced sound when brought together—with four sopranos, three altos, three tenors, and three basses.
The selected singers are:
Sopranos – Thérèse Gaughan, Mary Walsh, Claire Warburton, Lauren McCann
Altos – Emily Cox, Pierce Cullen, Tania Murphy
Tenors – Max O’Neill, Jonathan Miller, David Yau
Basses – Donncha McDonagh, Callum Jeacle, Niall Kelly
Some singers are just starting out in their studies, like Niall Kelly (bass) who, up until recently, was a medical student at UCD until the call of music became too hard to resist. He begins his music studies next September. Others are at the other side of their music studies, like Thérèse Gaughan (soprano) and Tania Murphy (alto) who are both pursuing their Masters at the University of York.
Despite being in the very early stages of building their careers, the selected singers have already emerged as leaders in the vibrant and varied choral scene around Ireland.
Many singers have honed their musicianship skills in youth choirs like the Irish Youth Choir, Dublin Youth Chamber Choir, Ulster Youth Choir, and the Cross Border Youth Choir. Some come from church and cathedral backgrounds, like Pierce Cullen (alto) who had his start in the Palestrina Choir, and now sings as a lay vicar in Christ Church Cathedral.
Several singers have nurtured their love of choral singing through their involvement in University ensembles, like Max O’Neill (tenor) in the UCD Choral Scholars, Jonathan Miller (tenor) in the SETU Chamber Choir, and Claire Warburton (soprano) as a Choral Scholar in the Trinity College Chapel Choir—conducted this year by Donncha McDonagh (bass).
A few singers have been accumulating wins on the amateur competition circuit in Ireland and internationally, like Mary Walsh (soprano), who sings with recent Polifonico Arezzo prizewinners, New Dublin Voices; or David Yau (tenor) who performed with Dublin Youth Choir in their winning performance as Ireland’s Choir of the Year at Cork International Choral Festival.
Some have even led their amateur and community choirs to victory as conductors, like Callum Jeacle (bass), conducting the Trinity Singers; and Emily Cox (alto), conducting Cantairí Óga Átha Cliath—both of whom took home trophies at last week’s City of Derry International Choral Festival.
Some, like Lauren McCann (soprano), have already dipped a toe in the world of professional choral singing, acting as deputies in choirs like Sestina.
Others will now get their first experience in a professional setting this November, in the first of three weekends in the year-long CCI Studio programme.
The CCI Studio is made possible with principal funding from the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon, as well as dedicated support by Chamber Choir Ireland’s Learning Benefactors and Next Generation Champions.