By Joe Leogue
Practice makes perfect when performing for a Pope.
The organisers of the World Meeting of Families 2018, which will see Pope Francis come to Ireland later this month, have revealed that it has held its first large-scale choir rehearsal in the RDS ahead of the pontiff’s appearance at the Phoenix Park on August 26.
More than 2,000 members of the Papal Mass Choir gathered together last Saturday to do a full run through of the music for the closing mass of the World Meeting of Families.
Organisers say 3,000 voices from all 26 dioceses will make up the main choir, and more will contribute to the congregational singing with their own parish choirs in the corrals spread across the Phoenix Park.
While local rehearsals in dioceses around the country have been held in recent months, the RDS session last Saturday was the first time that the countrywide group was brought together.
The choir conductor, John O’Keeffe, is native of Portmagee, Co Kerry, and is director of Sacred Music and Choral Groups at St Patrick’s College and NUI Maynooth.
The two assistant conductors of the Massed Choir also have Munster connections.
Dominic Finn is from Cobh, Co Cork, and is the director of music at St Colman’s Cathedral, while Amy Ryan is from Killarney, Co Kerry, and holds a BMus from the CIT Cork School of Music.
She has conducted the UCD Symphony Orchestra and Philharmonic Choir, among others, and currently lectures in Music at Trinity College, Dublin and at the Royal Irish Academy of Music.
Meanwhile, Bus Eireann has said it will significantly enhance its services to accommodate those looking to see the Pope in Dublin.
It said its overall capacity will increase by over 100% on August 26.