Premier Performance of "Connemara Mass", Thursday, May 4, at DeSales University
Dr. Dennis Varley, associate professor of humanities at DeSales University, and Schola Catholica, a group of professional Catholic singers from the Allentown Diocese, will perform the world premier of Varley's work, "Connemara Mass," at 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 4, in Connelly Chapel at DeSales. "Connemara Mass" is a musical setting of the Mass in Irish (Gaelic) and English. It is composed for choir, harp, strings, fiddle, uilleann pipes and piano. The program is open to the public free of charge. Varley teaches Irish music and culture at DeSales. From 1989 to 2001, he conducted the university's Chorale. Varley, who has family in Connemara, has taken numerous trips to Ireland. During 2001, he made many visits there to study the Baroque harp repertoire with pianist Michael O'Suilleabhain of the University of Limerick.
According to Varley, Connemara, located in the west of Ireland, is an area where people are in touch with the wild, natural beauty of the mountains and lakes of the landscape. In his work, he tried to capture some of the rhythm and cadence of this region in his Mass.
The choir consists of sopranos, Kate Varley and Carole Silvoy; altos, Janet Belletti and Ruth Macfarlane; tenors, associate professors of humanities at DeSales, Dr. Brennan Pursell and Dr. Kenneth Nivison, and basses, Dr. Richard Angelico and Varley.
Schola Catholica also includes Dr. Gregory Kerr, associate professor of philosophy and theology at DeSales, Edward Schulz, and Rebecca Dries of Moravian College.
Also, four singers from the Lehigh Valley High School for the Performing Arts: soprano soloist for the Mass Fiona Gillespie, and Dan Jones, Tess Varley and Kristen Mikkelsen.
In addition, performing are harpist Carol Thompson, fiddler Alison Gillespie, cellist David Moulton, Varley on piano and other musicians on uilleann pipes.
The Rev. Msgr. Brendan Muldoon, an Irish-speaking native of Connemara, will celebrate the Mass. Native Irish speaker Patrick Drummond will present the readings of the Mass in Gaelic.
Last year, Schola Catholica performed "Ave Maria" at Connelly Chapel, a program of musical devotion to the Blessed Mother, and a concert for Easter, "Resurrexit!"
For more information on the Connemara Mass and Schola Catholica, contact Dr. Dennis Varley, associate professor of humanities at DeSales, at 610-282-1100, ext. 1381.
Press Release: Premier Performance of "Connemara Mass", Thursday, May 4, at DeSales University | Posted on: 5/4/2006
For more info:
Tom McNamara, Executive Director of Communications
DeSales University | 2255 Station Avenue | Center Valley, PA 18034
610.282.1100 x1219 | Tom.McNamara@desales.edu