Cork International Choral Festival kicks off on Wednesday

Cork will come alive with the sound of music next week as 5,000 singers arrive from all over the world for the annual International Choral Festival.

Almost 5,000 world class singers and 50,000 visitors from across Ireland, Europe and beyond will descend on the city from April 26-30 for the 63rd festival.

There will be 6 ticketed gala events, and more than 100 free events throughout the city and county, including a Choral Trail, Friendship Concerts, Fringe Concerts, a Symposium, Schools Concerts, National and International Competitions, workshops and free outdoor performances.

The event always spills out to the streets of Cork with many impromptu performances in pubs, cafes, restaurants, churches and libraries - wherever you turn you will hear a harmony of voices.

The Festival is the oldest in Cork and one of Europe's most prestigious Choral Festivals, so it's no surprise that 16 international groups from 13 different countries - Canada, England, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Japan, Macedonia, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, and Wales – are arriving in Cork for the week.

Highlights include a Gala concert with the Grammy Award Winning group The Swingles, and three new works will be featured and given their world premières in Cork - a new composition by David Fennessy, Ne Reminicaris, jointly commissioned by Cork International Choral Festival and Chamber Choir Ireland and City Shower by John Lonergan, the winner of this year's Seán Ó Riada Composition Competition (supported by the Ó Riada family), both of which will feature at the Gala performance on Friday evening.

2017 looks like it will be one of the most exciting years yet with something for everyone - choral and music lovers alike.

Highlights on Wednesday include:

- Opening Gala Concert: Verdi's Requiem, with the Cork Fleischmann Symphony Orchestra and the voices of Cara O'Sullivan (soprano), Raphaela Mangan (mezzo soprano), Owen Gilhooly (tenor). John Molloy (bass) at

Cork City Hall at 8pm

Highlights on Thursday include:

- Choral Symposium: The Art of Acapella Masterclass with The Swingles at CIT Cork School of Music from 11am -1pm

- Gala Concert: The Swingles, Grammy award winning Acapella group at Cork City Hall at 8pm

Highlights on Friday include:

- Seminar on New Choral Music – Chamber Choir Ireland & Paul Hillier at CIT Cork School of Music from 2-5pm

- Gala Concert: 'The Great Mystery' by Chamber Choir Ireland – world premiere at St Fin Barre's Cathedral at 7.30pm

- Gala Concert: Evocations: New Dublin Voices, an internationally acclaimed award-winning chamber choir at Cathedral of St. Mary and St. Anne at 10.30pm

Highlights on Saturday include:

- The Big Sing: Composer and conductor Gemma Sugrue will teach a well-known Choral work to the crowds. Free for all to attend, with the aim of ensuring everyone gets to sing in the Cork International Choral Festival at Cork City Hall at 12.00pm

- Afternoons in the Atrium - entertaining performances by national and international choirs at The Clayton Hotel at 2pm

- 2017 International Fleishmann Gala Concert: Hear some of the world's top amateur choirs competing for the Fleischmann International Trophy, one of the most prestigious choral prizes in Europe at Cork City Hall at 3pm and 8pm

- Festival Club – kick back and relax with festival choirs and guests at The Clayton, after Gala performances

Highlights on Sunday include:

- Afternoons in the Atrium - entertaining performances by national and international choirs at The Clayton Hotel at 2pm

- Awards ceremony, where the winner of the Fleishmann Competition will be announced at

Cork City Hall at 5.15pm

- Closing Gala Concert with International choirs presenting choral music representative of their musical and cultural backgrounds in a joyful celebration of song and colour. This is always a highlight of the week at Cork City Hall at 8pm

For the full festival programme see www.corkchoral.ie.

Over 94% of the Festival is completely free of charge to the public and tickets for the 6 Gala events are available for purchase through the online booking system at www.corkchoral.ie, and in person from the Festival Box Office at The Everyman, McCurtain Street.

The Cork International Choral Festival is proudly supported by The Arts Council of Ireland, Fáilte Ireland, Cork City Council and Cork County Council, First South Credit Union Ltd. and Indaver Ireland. Over 250 people volunteer for the Festival each year.

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