A seasonal Spanish celebration
Dublin is an international city. Countless languages are spoken in the streets every day. But every Monday, a committed group of individuals brace the wind, rain (or the rare sunshine), negotiating the busy streets of central Dublin, to attend a rehearsal in the Instituto Cervantes.
I am becoming more confident in my singing. [Giovanna]
They warm up with silly physical moves, jumping up and down, shaking limbs, blowing out their lips and tongues, and counting up the scale: uno, dos, tres, cuatro, cinco, seis, siete, ochooooooo!
This is Coro Cervantes Dublín, Ireland's leading Spanish-language choir. They sing songs from 1950s Mexico, medieval Spain, communist Cuba, folk songs from Arizona, and sacred chants.
I like learning Spanish through songs chosen from all over the Hispanic world. I also like singing as a group led by an enthusiastic, creative director. [Hazel]
The rehearsal takes place entirely in castellano (Spanish). Everything from note corrections to breathing instructions to vocal technique. Of course, all the songs are sung in Spanish. A big part of the experience is enjoying these old stories from a different part of the world. It is a humbling and communal experience to engage with the songs from another tradition.
Instituto Cervantes is the national cultural organisation of the Spanish government working to promote Spanish culture across the world, and these singers engage with Hispanic culture in an artistic way every single week.
Coro Cervantes will perform on Monday 18 November at 7:30pm in Instituto Cervantes, Lincoln Place (behind Trinity College Dublin). Find out more via Facebook at this link and you can purchase tickets at this link.
When asked at this week's rehearsal, some of the group's singers offered these insights:
My favourite thing is the director's positive approach and musicality. [Séamus]
I love the variety of songs and styles we rehearse each week. [Ruth]
Dónal teaches in a very open and encouraging way. The energy of the group is good. I love the Spanish songs we learn! [Giovanna]
IIMS co-founder Dónal Kearney took over as Director of Coro Cervantes in September 2017. At that stage, the ensemble had not performed in public for a year and a half. Since then, Coro Cervantes has hosted a concert at the end of each term; winter, spring and summer.
This is the first occasion that Coro Cervantes has formally hosted professional musicians as part of their termly concert. On Monday 18 November, Sicilian pianist Annalisa Monticelli will perform alongside Venezuelan tenor Luis Magallanes-Short.
Annalisa has been in demand as a solo artist, accompanist, chamber musician, and choral conductor. To cultivate her long-term passion for Latin-American music Annalisa is currently undertaking a Ph.D focused in Latin-American Music from the twentieth Century. Luís has an extensive experience playing chamber music in different halls in Venezuela and has enter the semi-final in the Veronica Dunne International singing competition this year.
My favourite thing about Coro Cervantes is that Dónal brings out the best in everyone to push themselves in a positive and encouraging way. And I love the mix of songs we learn! [Úna]