On Friday 31st March 2006, Monkstown Community School in Newtownabbey hosts the annual spring concert of one of Ireland’s top choirs, The Abbey Singers. Under the baton of Brian Agus, the choir have performed all over Ireland and have been in existence for many years. This is Brian’s 2nd season as a conductor of the Abbey Singers. He has, however, almost a lifetime’s experience having first been appointed choirmaster, at the age of 23, of a church in his native West Yorkshire. Originally a school teacher, he came to Northern Ireland to join the teaching staff of the Belfast School of Music, where he was the first head of singing and from where he conducted choirs from school level upwards, including the Belfast Chorale in the choir of the year competition televised nationwide on BBC2. From 1993 he was Director of Music Services for the South Eastern Education and Library Board, until his early retirement in 2004. His choir training is informed by his considerable early experience as a tenor soloist. He is an occasional organist in his local church, has adjudicated all over Ireland and examines regularly for the Royal Irish Academy of Music in Dublin. In the summer he umpires cricket. This year the band are proud to be invited to take part in this concert and look forward to performing on the evening.
The other special guest for this concert is International singing star, Carolyn Dobbin. The Irish mezzo-soprano, began her career as a teacher of Art and Design before commencing the Opera course at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in 2002, where she studies with Patricia MacMahon.
Carolyn has appeared as guest soloist and given recitals throughout the UK and Europe and worked on the sound track for the film “Solid Air” which was premiered at the Edinburgh Festival. Carolyn forms part of a group of musicians called Transfusion including John Wallace and performed a variety of music including De Falla’s Siete Canciones Populares Españolas at the Kilkenny Festival 2003. She has also performed with Patricia MacMahon and the acclaimed accompanist, Malcolm Martineau in a recital in Edinburgh. She sang in Opera Gala concerts in Oslo, with Handmade opera in Malta and performed Mahler’s Ruckert lieder in Glasgow and Montsalvatge’s Canciones Negras in Belfast in 2004.
It is a delight that Carolyn is taking time out of her busy schedule to perform at this event and we look forward to your company for what is set to be a wonderful evening of music.
Tickets are available from the band, choir or you can pay at the door. We look forward to your company.