1. What is the Irish Memory Orchestra Singer's Scheme?
The 2017 Scheme involves the development of an exciting new chamber choir, based in Glór Theatre, Ennis which will do for Irish choral singing what the Irish Memory Orchestra has done for Irish orchestral music.
In other words, the Irish Memory Choir will combine traditional Irish music, classical, jazz and other styles in a unique way through the music of founder and Artistic Director Dave Flynn.
The choir will follow the Memory Orchestra's example of performing by memory in every concert.
2. What kind of singers are you looking for?
The scheme is primarily suited to traditional 'sean nós' singers, especially those with experience in choral/harmony singing.
However some places will be made available to singers more accomplished in either classical choral singing, early/baroque music, jazz, gospel and traditional singing styles from around the world.
Singers need to be of a very high standard as we aim to develop this into a professional choir.
3. Who are the Irish Memory Orchestra choir members?
The full membership of the choir will be created through this scheme. The lead singers and mentors of the IMO Choir are Irish Memory Orchestra members Roisin Donohoe (Winner of the 2014 Singer's Scheme) and Niamh Varian-Barry (former lead vocalist with Solas).
The IMO Choir will be directed by Dave Flynn in rehearsals and stand-alone events. Bjorn Bantock will conduct events involving the Irish Memory Orchestra.
4. What are the benefits of the scheme?
Several outstanding singers who complete the 2017 scheme will be offered the role of section leader or deputy leader for their voice range. This will lead to professional opportunities and a scholarship giving a full refund of scheme fees.
All singers who successfully complete the 2017 scheme will become core members of the choir. As such they will be asked to perform with the choir for every event the choir is engaged.
We aim to develop the Irish Memory Orchestra Choir into a professional group where singers are paid for performances.
Successful applicants will receive over 20 hours mentoring during the scheme.
They will also get to perform with some of Ireland's leading musicians during Irish Memory Orchestra concerts.
Each successful applicant will receive two free tickets for friends/family to attend the concert in Christchurch Cathedral on 4th November 2017 where the choir will join the orchestra in the premiere of Dave Flynn's Memory Symphony.
The singers selected for the choir will be part of an exciting new project that will be unlike any other choir.
In your application please submit streaming weblinks to videos of two short contrasting songs via Youtube or similar streaming service. (Please do not send us files for download, they must be streaming links).
Videos can be recorded very simply on a mobile phone and uploaded to youtube. If you wish your video to not go public please set it as 'Unlisted'. Do not set it as 'Private'.
At least one song should be an Irish traditional song.
Classically trained singers who are not Sean Nós singers are advised to sing in a style reminiscent of Early/Baroque music. Classical/Opera-style singing with vibrato should not be used in audition videos as this style of singing will not be used in the choir.
6. What costs are involved to applicants?
There is an application fee of €15 to be paid by paypal to help cover administration costs.
Singers accepted on to the scheme need to pay a once off scheme fee of €250. Those who get appointed section leaders for their voice range will receive a scholarship with a full fee reimbursement.
All fees go towards running this scheme, we are a non-profit organisation with no government funding.
7. When is the application deadline?
All applications must be received by 14th July 2017.
8. What happens after I apply?
Applications will be reviewed and shortlisted candidates will either be selected on the strength of their video audition or called for audition in Glór on 15th July 2017.
9. Is there an age limit?
There is no age limit, however only very accomplished singers will be considered, so singers under 18 will need to have very mature, developed voices to be selected.
10. Do singers have to be from Clare/Galway?
No, the scheme is open to anyone living anywhere, provided they can commit to traveling at their own expense to 2017 auditions/rehearsals in Ennis and Athenry and the concert in Dublin on 4th November.
11. Do I have to be equally good at traditional and classical singing?
Ideal candidates will be traditional singers of a professional standard who have experience in choral/harmony singing
Preference will be given to excellent singers of traditional Irish songs who can sing in Irish
The scheme is open to singers more accomplished in classical, jazz, gospel and other styles and we expect some will be accepted based on the strength of their ability to sing in harmony and to help diversify the choir's sound.
12. Do I have to be able to read music?
It is more important to be an excellent singer with a very good ear and memorisation capacity. The ability to read music is useful but not essential. This makes the scheme suitable for visually impaired singers.
13. What other qualities must I have?
A positive, co-operative attitude is essential. You must be friendly, hard-working, positive, willing to take direction and constructive criticism and be a real team player.
14. I’m primarily a traditional ballad singer of Irish songs in English but I have an interest in this project. Can I apply?
Yes you may apply, however do be aware that preference will be given to singers with a strong capacity for Irish and sean nós style ornamentation and phrasing.
15. As well as being a singer I am also an instrumentalist. If I am selected as a singer can I also perform as an instrumentalist?
You will not be asked to audition as an instrumentalist, however if you are selected as a singer your instrumental skills will be assessed and you may be asked to perform as an instrumentalist with the choir also.
16. What will I be required to sing in my audition video/audio submission?
You are asked to sing two short contrasting songs which demonstrate your versatility. Ideally this should be a song in Irish and a song in English, one fast and one slow.
We will accept the following kinds of songs for the audition
Traditional Irish Songs, Early/Baroque Music (Bach etc.), Jazz, Soul, Blues, Traditional songs from around the world, Songs composed by Dave Flynn.
We are looking for people who sing purely from the heart in a natural voice, so please don't try too hard to impress us with your vocal technique - This is not the X Factor or America's Got Talent!
17. When and where are the live auditions and what will I be required to do at the auditions?
Live auditions will take place in Ennis in June (Date/Venue TBC). The live auditions are the 2nd stage of the application process. You MUST submit a video application in order to be considered for the live audition.
In the live auditions you will be asked to sing some music composed by Dave Flynn which will be sent to you in advance. You will also be tested on your general technical ability and your ability to sing in harmony with other singers.
18. Where and when will training/rehearsals take place?
There are 3 stages which you MUST be available for.
(a) Once a month rehearsals in Ennis, Clare from July through October 2017. These will take place for two-three hours on either a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. The date will vary according to schedules.
(b) Intensive training rehearsals for the Christchurch Cathedral concert will take place in Athenry, Galway over the Halloween mid term from 28th October to 3rd November. Candidates will need to be generally free for these dates, except 31st October when there is a break. On week days choir rehearsals will be in the evening to cater to those who are busy in the daytime.
(c) Dress rehearsals and concert will occur in Christchurch Cathedral on 4th November 2017. Another concert is being programmed on 3rd November. This will be in Galway, venue TBC soon.
19. I will not be able to attend most of the training rehearsals in Oct/Nov. Can I still apply?
Unfortunately no, it is essential that you will be free on most of these dates.
20. I have an important event on during the Oct/Nov training/rehearsals, however I would be free for most of the week, can I still apply?
Yes, please apply, if you are good enough to be accepted into the scheme we may be able to make allowances for once off events that have been arranged prior to the application being made.
21. I have a weekend/evening job and I may find it difficult to get time off work, will this effect my application?
Yes, you need to be free for the entire rehearsal time.
22. Do I get paid/expenses?
Initially no, however several outstanding singers who complete the 2017 scheme will be offered the role of section leader or deputy leader for their voice range. This will lead to professional opportunities and a scholarship giving a full refund of scheme fees.
We aim to develop the Irish Memory Orchestra Choir into a professional group where all singers are paid for performances. By being accepted into and completing this scheme you will be in line to be part of this development.
24. Are there any gender restrictions?
No, this scheme is open to all genders. It is an inclusive scheme aimed at giving opportunities to all people regardless of age, gender, social status, race, creed etc.
The only things we will judge are the quality of your singing and your ability to work in harmony with others.
25. I am a from a different country to Ireland and sing traditional songs from my native country, can I apply?
Yes, please apply, we are open to versatile singers who are well versed in different styles and we are very interested in traditional singing from around the world.
26. Is the scheme suitable for singers who specialise in Opera or Musicals?
Our choir will not make use of Opera or Musical-style voices or songs, so if Opera or Musicals are what you love the scheme is probably not for you.
27. What will the repertoire of the choir be?
The repertoire will mainly consist of Dave Flynn's original compositions and arrangements.
The music will fuse traditional Irish 'sean nós' singing with modal contemporary classical harmony, jazz and other styles.
An example of this kind of music can be listened to below.
As the choir develops we may introduce some standard choral repertoire and commission new works.
28. How will the choir differ to Anúna, Cór Thaobh a'Leithéid, Cór Cúil Aodha and other choirs who are influenced by traditional Irish music?
The main differences between this project and other choirs will be the style of music and presentation. We admire and respect the work of Anúna, Cór Cúil Aodha, Cór Thaobh a'Leithéid and other Irish choirs however we won't be mimicking any of them.
We are aiming to develop something quite different to any other choir. All will be revealed......