About

The Mayo International Choral Festival, the brainchild of Edward (Eamonn) Horkan, was inspired by a concert for the Mayo Memorial Peace Park whereby several choirs performed in unison in the Royal Theatre. Edward, a member of the Mayo Male Voice Choir, attended many choral festivals worldwide and with this experience set about organizing the festival.
The festival takes the form of several international male/female adult choirs travelling to Mayo at the end of May each year, to partake on a competitive and non-competitive basis. Their visit includes a number of evening and daily performances county-wide, tours of Mayo and a gala concert on Saturday night. The theme of the festival is to allow choirs to meet with other choirs, relax and enjoy a great weekend in the beautiful West of Ireland.
The festival has the support of many Mayo choral groups and local organisations in the different towns, to coordinate concerts by the visiting choirs, and to act as their hosts.
The festival is supported by Mayo County Council and Failte Ireland and numerous other sponsors.

FAQ’s
The answers to Frequently Asked Questions asked questions about the festival
Scroll down or download our Syllabus from this link

What’s it all about?
The festival takes the form of several competing and non-competing choirs participating in a series of concerts, mini-performances and events that take place over four to five days, all over Mayo, in the west of Ireland. All events are open to a public audience. There are many beautiful and exciting scenic locations and interesting attractions in Mayo and choirs are encouraged to visit some of these during their visit and to experience the friendliness of people from Mayo.

Where’s the best place to get every bit of information?
The entry form, which contains the rules and regulations, is the best source of information about the festival. In order for choirs to get the best experience from the festival, we can’t stress enough the benefit of the choir reading the entry form in detail, at a very early stage in the participation planning. Entry forms can be downloaded from the festival website www.mayochoral.com. Our Syllabus lists the Fáilte Ireland approved accommodation facilities in Mayo, and is also available for download from September of the year in advance of the festival.

Where is Mayo?
The county of Mayo is located on the west coast of Ireland. Geographically it is the third largest county (region) in Ireland, and arguably the most scenic!

How do we get to Mayo?
Mayo is serviced by Ireland West International Airport, Knock, located in east Mayo, with connections to all major UK airports (average of just over one hours flying-time to UK). There is very good road access from Dublin if travelling by ferry. There is a very good direct rail service to many train stations in Mayo, from Dublin to Claremorris, Castlebar and Westport, and connections to Ballina.

How about transport while in Mayo?
Public bus transport is very limited. Choirs are advised to check in advance if they will need to hire transport during their visit. While the festival does not book or pay for transport, we will advise on reputable and good value local coach and taxi providers. Transport may be necessary for travel to evening concerts (various towns), and competition venues (located in Castlebar). New for 2018: we will have a continuous hop-on, hop-off bus service, servicing the competition and accommodation venues in Castlebar throughout Saturday, the day of the competitions. There will be a very small charge payable to the bus driver, by each choir member individually, for this service.

Do we have to source and pay for our own accommodation?
Yes. However we do provide a full list of accommodation choices in our syllabus, in advance of each festival. There is a big choice of good quality and good value accommodation. We have visited all hotels and they have assured us that accommodation and meal costs will be at a very good value rate for visiting choirs – please mention that you are taking part in the choral festival to avail of this rate. We advise strongly to book your accommodation as early as possible.

How many days should we stay?
The duration of stay is the choice of each choir. We encourage choirs to stay a few days either side of the festival dates, to experience the beautiful scenic locations in Mayo and the attractions and culture and heritage of the area. The festival programme starts on Wednesday, with a presentation honouring one of Mayo’s heroes or heroines in song and music. On Thursday, Friday and Sunday evenings, our community concerts take place, each featuring a visiting International or National choir, a local adult choir and a local youth choir, in venues that are most suitable to singing – from the quaint to the quirky! Saturday is the day for competitions, starting early in the morning, and finishing Saturday night with the Premier Competition, featuring the winning choirs of each category. There are also mini performances throughout the towns on Saturday by the choirs. Our closing event will take place on Sunday. A full programme is announced in early March, once all entries have been processed.

How many events are choirs involved in?
Competing choirs are asked to participate in at least one other event, other than competitions (maximum number of competitions a choir can enter is two competition categories). Non-competing choirs are equally as welcome. Events vary from singing in formal concerts to mini-performances on the Songway Choral Trail – some locations in pubs!

Are there facilities available for special needs?
It is helpful if we know in advance of any requirements for members with reduced mobility or other requirements, and we request this to be noted on our entry form. All our venues are wheelchair accessible.

Can non-competing choirs enter the festival?
We welcome equally non-competing choirs and are involved in whatever events they wish to participate – and don’t forget there is a category (and prizes!) for choirs who have never competed in any choral festival before – ‘First Time Competitors’. There are two separate entry forms, one for competing choirs and one for non-competing choirs. Entry forms are available to download www.mayochoral.com

How do the evening concerts work?
We ask on our entry form if and what day your choir would like to participate in one of our evening concerts. At each concert, we strive to feature a visiting International or National choir, a local adult choir and a local youth choir. The duration of performance for the International or National Choir is on average 15 to 20 minutes. Depending on the choir’s schedule, there are the customary complimentary light refreshments immediately after the concert and this gives a chance for choirs to meet each other and share their experiences. The box office proceeds, after expenses, go to a local charity and/or towards the running costs of the festival. The festival committee will advise in advance the locations and details of evening concerts. Choirs performing in the evening concert submit by email in advance a list of the songs/pieces that they will sing at the concert to ensure that the same piece is not performed by more than one choir and also to ensure the song titles are included in our printed concert programme distributed at the concert.

What does participation cost and how do we enter?
The Choir entry fee to participate in the festival is €80, which also includes entry to one competition category. Entry to each competition category thereafter is €80. There are two separate entry forms, one for competing choirs and one for non-competing choirs. Entry forms are available to download from our website Take Part 2018 or on request by email info@mayochoral.com

Compiled by Declan Durcan, Festival Producer, 07.09.2017

History

January 2011 General meeting with all Mayo based interested parties. February 2011: Attended Failte Ireland Regional Briefings, Knockranny Hotel, Westport March 2011: Discussions with Failte Ireland Meeting with Sligo Choral Festival director. Development of logo and branding April 2011: Holding page for website completed. Mini Festival Brochure, designed and printed. May 2011: Travelled to Cornwall …

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Contact Us

Festival Office: C/o Edward Horkan, 5 Cashel Park, Castlebar, Co. Mayo, Ireland. Chairman, Edward Horkan: +353 (0)94 9026214 Festival Coordinator, Declan Durcan: +353 (0)94 9024421 Festival Fax:  +353 (0)94 9026421 Email: info@mayochoral.com Website: www.mayochoral.com

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