Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sunday, July 4, at 11 am: The Cornelia Connelly Travelers perform at the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin

On Sunday, July 4, at 11 am, the Pro-Cathedral in Dublin welcomes the Cornelia Connelly School Advanced Women’s Ensemble and Handbell Ensemble from Anaheim under the direction of Brian Dehn. St Mary's Church (Irish: Leas-Ardeaglais Naomh Muire), known also as St Mary's Pro-Cathedral or simply the Pro-Cathedral, is a pro-cathedral and is the episcopal seat of the Roman Catholic Archbishop of Dublin and Primate of Ireland.
Saint Mary’s was constituted in 1825 from Saint Mary’s Chapel Liffey Street, whose pre-Reformation monastic antecedent was the great Benedictine, and later Cistercian Abbey of Saint Mary’s founded in the twelfth century. The present church is built on a site which was part of the ancient monastic foundation. The church was dedicated on 14th November 1825, the Feast of Saint Laurence O’Toole, Patron Saint of the Archdiocese of Dublin under the patronage of the ‘Conception of the Virgin’.
Music has always been a central ministry in Saint Mary's Pro Cathedral. The Palestrina Choir is the resident choir of Saint Mary's Pro-Cathedral. It had its origins in a boys' choir formed in the 1890s by Dr. Vincent O'Brien, then a music teacher at St. Mary's Place Christian Brothers School in Dublin. It was at a performance of Palestrina's Missa Papae Marcelli at St. Teresa's Carmelite Church in Clarendon Street in 1898 that this choir came to the attention of Edward Martyn their founding sponsor. Martyn wished to promote the music of Palestrina which was espoused by Pope Pius X as a standard to which liturgical music should aspire. The Palestrina Choir was constituted and installed in the Pro-Cathedral on January 1st, 1903 with Dr O'Brian as director. In the century since its foundation, the Choir has had seven Directors. Dr Vincent O'Brien, Director until his death in 1948, was succeeded by his son, Oliver. In 1978, Fr Seán O hEarcaigh took over the baton from Oliver O'Brien. He was succeeded in 1982, by Ms. Ite O'Donovan and in 1996 by Comdt Joseph Ryan. Ms. Órla Barry was the Director from the end of 1996 to 2001. The current Director is Blánaid Murphy. Over the years the Palestrina Choir has attracted singers of high renown. John Count McCormack was a member of the Choir from 1904 to 1905. Many recent members are now distinguished soloists, most notably Emmanuel Lawler, who began his singing career as a boy soprano in the Choir. In recent years, the Choir has travelled widely, singing at many Cathedrals and venues throughout Ireland, Europe and North America.


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