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The Department of Music is renowned for its long and proud tradition of communal music making.
Our rich concert life is underpinned by the steady rhythm of rehearsals and concerts supplied by our diverse ensembles. There are three professionally-directed ensembles within the Department that currently contribute to our Approved Ensemble Programme. In 2023-2024 the Choral Society will supply the focus of the programmes for the three annual Carol Services and a large-scale choral concert in April. The Maynooth University Orchestra explores a variety of repertoire leading to its concert in May, while the Chamber Choir regularly tours and enters choral competitions. The Irish Traditional Group, Chamber Choir and Choral Society each work toward public concerts in their schedules.
For more about these ensembles, including their rehearsals, memberships and repertoire, please follow the links below.
We encourage the formation of smaller ensembles, vocal and instrumental. This allows students to develop their performing abilities across a wide range of repertoire whether or not they are focusing on performance as part of their studies.
If you are a member of the University staff, a student or a member of the local community and you are interested in becoming involved in one of our ensembles please do contact the Music Department Office for further information.
Rehearsal Locations (One Rehearsal per Week): Mondays: Callan Hall (Alto), Science Hall (Soprano), O’Callaghan Room (Tenor), Bewerunge Room (Bass). Wednesday Repeat Session: Riverstown Hall (Alto), O’Callaghan Room (Soprano), Practice Room 15 (Tenor), Seminar Room – Music Department Annex (Bass)
 By agreement in advance with the Director of Choral Groups, students genuinely unable to attend certain Monday rehearsals may be permitted to avail of a repeat rehearsal on the Wednesdays listed above.
Founded by Father Noel Watson in 1969 and directed by Professor Gerard Gillen from 1985-2007, the Maynooth University Choral Society has gained widespread acclaim for its annual performances of major choral works. Its successes have been founded on a solid tradition of hard work, based on the mutual co-operation of Departmental staff, students and singers from across the campus and local community. The Choral Society programme of activities is normally directed towards its Annual Choral Concert (Semester II) together with participation in the Annual Carol Services in the College Chapel.
Departmnetal Ensemble Attendance
Maynooth Music Department places a high academic value on group music-making. Choral Society is an Approved Ensemble for modules MU151/MU152 MU253, MU319 and MU369, with ensemble attendance counting for up to 20% of available marks for these modules.
How do I join?
New members should attend the first rehearsal which begins in Callan Hall on Monday 9 October at 18.30.
First Year Students: Please attend the first rehearsal and also register online at http://tinyurl.com/MU151RegForm
Annual Carol Services, 12 and 13 December.
Annual Choral Concert at 4pm on Sunday 3 March 2024, featuring Verdi’s Requiem, with orchestra and distinguished guest soloists led by internationally-acclaimed soprano, Céline Byrne.
John O’Keeffe is Director of Choral Groups at Maynooth University and Head of Sacred Music at St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth. A former organ scholar of Westminster Cathedral, London, he is founder-director of Maynooth University Chamber Choir and of Schola Gregoriana Maynooth.
Scores should be collected from Music Dept Office in advance of first rehearsal. Scores must be returned to the office at the end of the year.
Dr John O'Keeffe is Director of Sacred Music at the National Seminary of St. Patrick’s College, Maynooth, where his duties include lecturing, training of cantors, choir and organists, and the preparation of music for college liturgies. As Maynooth University’s Director of Choral Groups, he conducts the University Choral Society and oversees the activities of the Maynooth University Chamber Choir, Schola Gregoriana Maynooth (a joint SPCM/MU project) and the Maynooth University female choir, 'Altus'.
Prior to his appointment to Maynooth, he was Choirmaster at St. Mel’s Cathedral, Longford, having already served as Organ Scholar of Westminster Cathedral and Dublin’s Pro-Cathedral. His organ teachers have included Rev. Frank McNamara, David Sanger, Ben Van Oosten and Gerard Gillen. He holds Master’s degrees in Organ (MU) and Chant Performance (UL) and his doctoral thesis The Masses of Seán and Peadar Ó Riada: Explorations in Vernacular Chant was recently published by Cork University Press.
Active also as a liturgical music composer (his Mass of Saint Mel was commissioned in 2015 to mark the restoration of Longford Cathedral) and editor (the second volume of his church music series, Feasts and Seasons, has just been published), he directs postgraduate and diploma courses in liturgical music and chant at both St. Patrick's College and Maynooth University. In 2018, he was appointed Director of Music for the Papal Mass, held in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, to mark the visit of Pope Francis to Ireland.
To obtain maximum credits, students are expected to attend all rehearsals (please see rehearsal schedule). Medical certificates may be produced to cover absences due to sickness.
The efficiency of the rehearsal process depends on punctual attendance and on students having their own music at rehearsal. Late attendance/early departure or failure to bring your score may mean a reduction of 50% of available credit for any given rehearsal.
Monday 9th (All Singers)
Monday 29th/ Wednesday 31st
Monday 16th/ Wednesday 18th
Monday 23rd/ Wednesday 25th
Monday 6th/ Wednesday 8th
Monday 5th (All Singers)
Monday 13th/ Wednesday 15th
Monday 12th (All Singers)
Monday 20th/ Wednesday 22nd
Monday 19th (All Singers)
Monday 27th/ Wednesday 23th
Monday 26th (All Singers)
Monday 4th (All Singers)
Monday 11th (College Chapel)
13:00 - 18:00, Chapel1
December Carol Services2
Sunday 3rd March
13:00 - 19:00, Chapel
1College Chapel rehearsal at 18.00 each evening, for 19.30 performance.
Maynooth University Chamber Choir is one of the leading University choirs in Ireland. The ensemble is made up of auditioned singers from across all departments of Maynooth University. Last year the choir toured Malta during the Summer.
This coming year 2023-2024 the choir will have several exciting engagements. This includes 4 Christmas Concerts, an end-of-year concert, and an international tour as well as audio/video recordings. If you are passionate about performing and want an unforgettable university experience then you should audition for the Chamber Choir.
HOW TO JOIN?
Visit www.muchamberchoir.com and sign up for an in person audition.
Successful applicants will be invited for an in-person audition on the 28th & 29th of September, in the music department, Logic House or the Aula Maxima (depending on day of audition).
The ability to sight-read is not essential for entry to the choir
Voice Placement (range)
Ear Test (sing back the notes played on the piano)
Basic Sight-Reading (not a prerequisite)
Please direct Questions to Michael.email@example.com
Schedule 2023-2024 All Rehearsals will take place in the Aula Maxima unless a different room is beside the rehearsal date.
18th - 22nd Orientation Week
19th, Tu Auditions for Previous Members 18:00 - 20:00
26th, Tu MU Chamber Choir Auditions 17:00 - 21:00
28th, Th MU Chamber Choir Auditions 17:00 - 21:00
3rd, Tu MU Chamber Choir Auditions 17:00 - 21:00
5th, Th MU Chamber Choir Auditions 17:00 - 21:00
10th, Tu Rehearsal 1
12th, Th Rehearsal 2
15th, Tu Rehearsal 3
17th, Th Rehearsal 4
24th, Tu Rehearsal 5
26th, Th Rehearsal 6 (Will take place in Callan Hall)
3rd - 5th, Fr,Sa,Sun REHEARSAL RETREAT at the IIMS(cannot be missed), Arrive Fri @ 17:00 Leave Sun @ 13:00.
7th Rehearsal 7 (Will take place in Callan Hall)
9th Rehearsal 8 (Will take place in Callan Hall)
14th Rehearsal 9
16th Rehearsal 10
19th WINTER GALA CONCERT, Arrive 12pm, Set-up, Concert Starts 17:00.
21st Rehearsal 11
23rd Rehearsal 12
28th Rehearsal 13
30th Rehearsal 14
2nd, S Peter McVerry Trust Concert/ Concert in Skerries Church
5th, Tu Rehearsal 15
7th, Th Rehearsal 16
11th, M Carol Service Rehearsal, College Chapel
12th & 13th, Tu & Th Carol Service, College Chapel
Potential Trip to Malta After Carol Service & Classes for Christmas
6th, Tu Rehearsal 1
8th, Th Rehearsal 2
13th, Tu Rehearsal 3
15th, Th Rehearsal 4
16th - 18th Rehearsal Weekend (cannot be missed)
20th, Tu Rehearsal 5
22nd, Th Rehearsal 6
27th, Tu Rehearsal 7
29th, Th Rehearsal 8
5th, Tu Rehearsal 9
7th, Th Rehearsal 10
12th, Tu Rehearsal 11 (Will take place in Callan Hall)
14th, Th Rehearsal 12 (Will take place in Callan Hall)
19th, Tu Rehearsal 13
21st, Th Rehearsal 14
25th - 28th Study Week
1st - 5th Easter Break
9th, Tu Rehearsal 15
11th, Th Rehearsal 16
16th, Tu Rehearsal 17
18th, Th Rehearsal 18
23rd, Tu Rehearsal 19
25th, Th Rehearsal 20
30th, Tu Rehearsal 21
2nd, Th Rehearsal 22
7th, Tu Rehearsal 23
9th, Th Rehearsal 24
The traditional group is an Approved Ensemble for modules MU151/2 and MU253 and for third-year performance students. The group will put on two lunchtime concerts during the year.
Who is it for?
Experienced traditional instrumentalists who want to develop their playing by preparing and performing an innovative and challenging repertoire.
How do I join?
Members will have to audition for the group.
Auditions will take place in the Bewerunge Room on Wednesday the 24th September from 19:00 to 21:00.
What is involved?
The group meets for weekly rehearsals of two hours. Members are expected to individually prepare and practice material and to contribute fully to rehearsals.
Participating outside the group
Another important way of developing your skills as a traditional player is to take part regularly in sessions, which are usually held weekly in Maynooth. More details are available from the Traditional Music Society at firstname.lastname@example.org