International class David Cassan tunes in Limerick Pipe Organ Festival

Impossibly gifted - and thanks to Limerick Pipe Organ Festival, will give a free concert on Tuesday 12, 8pm in Sacred Heart Church, The Crescent
The impossibly gifted Cassan. And thanks to Limerick Pipe Organ Festival, will give a free concert on Tuesday 12, 8pm in Sacred Heart Church, The Crescent

HANDS up those among us familiar with Limerick Pipe Organ Festival? The truth is that this Festival embraces a suite of 15 dates and eight venues from May to October, with  recitals, a masterclass and music trail specific to August’s Heritage Week.

Let Peter Barley, organist and choir master with St Mary’s Cathedral, introduce the span of this ecumenical and musical concept that operates out of six Limerick churches and our cathedrals.

Take note for Tuesday July 12 in Sacred Heart Church, The Crescent at 8pm with David Cassan playing, Next, a choral concert from Cambridge on Wednesday 13 in St Mary’s Cathedral, at lunchtime 1.15pm. These will present international class performances of sacred music to the public.

“We are trying to build more concerts at other times and are working with arts and cultural events. Limerick has quite a wide hinterland for an audience,” Barley observes.

The inaugural festival was established under City of Culture 2014 and “one general theme that has emerged from that year and keeps emerging is that Limerick is too small not to collaborate”.

Sign up for the weekly Limerick Post newsletter

He has worked harmoniously with St John’s Cathedral’s enterprising Bernadette Kiely since 2013 and their eight-strong committee is chaired by Bishop Emeritus Donal Murray. Sponsorship and a campaign enables most platforms to open freely to the public.

“The pipe organ is distinguished from the electric scale type of organ and all the churches involved – there are eight in the city – have their original”.

Peter Barley is choir director and organist with St Mary's Cathedral
Peter Barley is choir director and organist with St Mary’s Cathedral

Look forward to more choral concerts, Heritage Week gigs, a masterclass with Martin Baker at St John’s on September 29 and an October demonstration in Mary Immaculate’s chapel. Rarefied stuff but first up, the Tuesday 12 evening concert at The Crescent in town.

Peter Barley makes that point that typically, we have to travel to Dublin to hear an artist of the calibre of Cassan, who has an extraordinary background of achievement.

“He is here thanks to Canon Leboq, head of the Sacred Heart order in Limerick and a French man, as is Cassan. Cassan is booked to play in Dublin and Galway also. Thanks to the Mayor’s Charity Ball, the €500 received by Limerick Pipe Organ Festival will pay for his fees and travel”.

On Wednesday 13 at 1.15pm in St Mary’s Cathedral, attend to the celestial voices of The Choir of Selwyn College, University of Cambridge. Titled ‘Resurgam’, this concert references the 1916 centennial and another big date, 150 years of St John’s intact Hill-built organ. Tomkins, Herbert Howell’s Requiem and Byrd are the programme.

See and facebook for more of Limerick Pipe Organ Festival greats.