The Collegiate Church of St Nicholas in Galway is one of Ireland’s most important medieval buildings, and Galway’s most prized tourist destination. In 1486 a college of singing priests was established at the church, responsible for singing the daily services and for educating boy choristers to sing with them.
A new millennium demands new ideas. Wishing to honour a unique heritage whilst meeting challenges and opportunities of the future, the Rector, Select Vestry and parish community of St Nicholas have decided to revive the ancient college in the form of the St Nicholas Schola Cantorum.
This new initiative walks in the footsteps of the church’s fifteenth century establishment but in a new dynamic that reaches out to all the people of Galway. Under the direction of St Nicholas’ organist and well-known choral specialist Mark Duley, it will provide valuable instruction and rewarding experience to people of all ages, whilst securing the musical future of the church and providing an invaluable musical and educational resource in the parish and wider community.
The three principal aims of the Schola Cantorum are:
In its first year (beginning September 2012) the board of the Schola will establish three new ensembles – Choristers, Choral Scholars and St Nicholas’ Singers. These groups will form constituent parts of the Schola alongside the existing parish choir.
St Nicholas Singers
Future plans for the Schola Cantorum include the establishment of an organ scholarship in partnership with Galway Cathedral, the spearheading of a campaign to raise funds for a new organ for the church, the development of a wide-ranging arts programme featuring the church’s own musicans and also drawing from the local, national and international arts community, and the creation of an auditioned project-based chamber choir to perform major liturgical works as part of that programme.