Portadown Male Voice Choir completed an all-Ireland ‘treble’ at the weekend by winning their section at Cork International Festival.
Having won at the inaugural Derry International Festival in October, and in Bangor last month, they built on their success story by landing the coveted title at Cork – continuing their association with the ‘deep south’ festival that goes back several decades.
Under conductor Gordon Speers, they charmed the audience with the intricate ‘Exsultate Justi’ by Lodovico Viadani and the sea shanty ‘A Wet Sheet and a Flowing Sea’ by Charles Harford Lloyd.
On the same programme were Cor Fir na Gaillimahe from Galway, City of Cork Male Voice Choir and Co Sligo Male Voice Choir. And it as a case of ‘last shall be first’ with Portadown fourth on the programme. They won by five clear points, having been awarded 86 points.
Said Gordon Speers, “It was a very pleasing end to the season. The choir’s programme has been particularly busy and the men’s commitment has been exceptional. They sang particularly well and, in my view, were worthy winners.”
It was part of a superb weekend by the choir who took part in the public concert at the Atrium in the city’s Clarion Hotel, as did several other international choirs. These included Portadown Ladies’ Choir, who are conducted by Gordon Speers. The ladies were a close third in their class, which was won by a superb choir from Munster.
It was the final hurray for the male choir, and capped one of the most successful seasons in their recent history. The trophy – which the choir will retain – was a one-off sculpture by one of Ireland’s top international sculptors – Don Cronin from Innishannon, County Cork.