My experiences to date in the USA have been pretty limited or unrealistic. They usually involve moving daily from place to place on tour with my choir Anúna, or attending business meetings that don’t allow you to get a sense of a city or town except in the most superficial way. This was one of the reasons why I was very happy to stay in Chicago for a week, although it hadn’t struck me that it was also St. Patrick’s week, and that the city has a huge Irish-American community, ably represented by my friend and local guide Eamonn Cummins.
My non-choral moments included an architectural boat trip in sub-zero temperatures that was pretty thrilling, a sublime and unexpectedly joyful visit to Old St Patrick’s Church and a silent rugby match being beamed into a bar full of people dressed in green that were oblivious to the unfolding tragic Irish drama on the screen. There was a green river, plastic shamrocks, and hopeful tee-shirts with various slogans on them indicating that the wearer needed some form of close physical congress with you because they were pretending to be Irish for one day only. Maybe they weren’t pretending… having left a country soaking in a mire of negativity, these good-humoured and well-behaved revellers have redefined what it means to be Irish. Ireland isn’t just a place anymore. It’s a state of mind.
Michael and I have stayed in touch over the last two years and we have had some nice conversations about changes in the choral publishing world and other things. I also let him know that my nine year old boy hums Anúna songs around the house- and not my music! Oh well-haha. Recently Michael let me know he would be in Dallas and I offered to get the word out, so here is an intro from him and more info about the summer school:
The Anúna International Choral SummerSchoolIn 2012 Anúna celebrated its 25th Anniversary. Rather than have a standard "celebration" of what has to be the oddest career C.V. in choral music, I decided to define what it was that makes Anúna so unusual and unique. So, from mid 2012 to early this year we created a choral vocabulary which, surprise surprise, we call "The Anúna Technique".
While the ideas that define it are simple, they turn many accepted concepts about choral technique on their head. The beauty of this Technique is that it is as simple or as complex as you need it to be, appealing to children and choral professionals equally.
The uniquely isolated nature of Anúna's development has resulted in the announcement of a second Anúna International Choral Summer School which will focus on the practical application of these techniques and its associated ideas.
In the past quarter century Anúna, Ireland's National Choir,
has gained international recognition as one of the world's
most original choral ensembles. It is renowned for its
mesmerising sound and atmospheric stage performances.
Under the guidance of composer/director Michael McGlynn,
Anúna has created specific and effective techniques for both solo
and choral singers. These techniques are, in many ways,
revolutionary and yet simple in concept.
This year's Summer School will take place in the beautiful
setting of Dublin's Merrion Square. The School is suitable
for solo vocalists, choral singers, choral composers, music
students and choral conductors. Michael McGlynn and
Education co-ordinator/choral clinician Lucy Champion
will be joined by a panel of international vocal experts.
Topics will include :
Michael McGlynn is rapidly becoming one of the
best-known writers of choral music today.
His musical language combines elements of medieval
and traditional music (modality, complex rhythmic structures,
ornamentation and drones) with jazz-tinged chordal clusters
and a distinctive melodic sensibility.
In 1987 he founded the choral group ANÚNA
whose repertoire features his compositions
almost exclusively. His choral music has been
recorded and performed by Chanticleer, Rajaton,
the National Youth Choir of Great Britain, the Dale Warland Singers,
Conspirare, the BBC Singers, Kansas City Chorale,
Phoenix Chorale and Cantus.
He has led choral workshops in the Netherlands,
Japan, Sweden, the USA, the UK, Poland and
most recently at the Shanghai Conservatory in China.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for further details and