23 - 27 October 2024

2020 Derry Festival surpasses all expectations as it reaches every corner of the world

gareth malone

The City of Derry International Choir Festival went virtual for its 2020 edition, welcoming an incredible worldwide audience from over 50 countries for its spectacular five-day programme of events.

Organisers put together a jam-packed schedule of exclusive guest artist concerts, online choir performances, podcasts, Zoom workshops and a Virtual Choral Trail featuring choirs from every continent bar Antarctica – a new goal for next year’s festival!

Exclusively presented on the festival’s website and social media channels, the varied programme racked up over 150,000 views in just five days. From Creggan to Canada, Strathfoyle to Sierra Leone and everywhere in between, festival friends old and new enjoyed the feast of choral music throughout the week, sending their messages of thanks and support to the festival for spreading some much-needed joy.

This sentiment was best summed up by Dr. Emma O’Brien, conductor of the Royal Melbourne Hospital Scrub Choir in Australia, who said;

“Love being part of this. It’s so amazing to feel connected with all these choirs from around the world. Our Royal Melbourne Hospital Scrub Choir was formed in response to the pandemic to give our frontline healthcare workers some well-needed time out and to help us stay connected virtually – so connecting with this worldwide community of choirs is extraordinary and has brought us hope and joy. Stay safe and well everyone. Thank you for the beautiful music.”

The festival kicked off in style on Wednesday 21 October with a very special, personalised message from world-famous TV presenter and Choirmaster Gareth Malone, ahead of local schoolchildren from Derry, Strabane, Omagh and Donegal launching the festival with a beautiful rendition of Amazing Grace.

With performances from Tenebrae, Ardú and 40 other choirs along the way, the festival finished up on Sunday 25 October with an emotional global virtual choir performance of Danny Boy, made up of local singers alongside participants from Europe, USA and Asia, expertly conducted by internationally-renowned composer and choral director Bob Chilcott.

These performances, and the online treasure trove of all other videos, concerts and podcasts from the City of Derry International Choir Festival are still available to watch and enjoy from the comfort of your home and in your own time, for free, on the festival’s website, derrychoirfest.com.

“A wonderful message of hope for our city, and the wider world. Thank you for the music, DerryChoirFest.” Foyle College, Derry

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