Bach in the NCH

The choir was back in the National Concert Hall in Dublin last Monday Dec 16th for our annual Christmas concert and was delighted to perform once again to an enthusiastic sell-out audience.  The main work this year consisted of parts 2, 5 and 6 of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, along with a Christmas motet by Poulenc and a number of seasonal items.  Go to our website Gallery page if you’d like to see some photos from the evening.

Unfortunately our German-based soprano Hannah Gries, daughter of alto soloist Alison Browner, had to cry off two days before the concert due to a throat infection, but she was ably replaced by Irish soprano Elizabeth Hilliard, so many thanks to her for stepping in at such short notice.  And a special thanks to our music coordinator Werner Blau and music director John Dexter for reacting so successfully and at such short notice to what must have been an unnerving and stressful experience two days before the concert.

So having completed our performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio, the question is – what will be the focus for next year’s Christmas concert?  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to let the choir know via the website suggestion box (for choir members) or via email to   In the meantime, we will be back at the National Concert Hall once again on Sunday May 3rd 2020 for a performance of works by Beethoven and Bach with renowned Irish pianist John O’Conor.  Keep an eye on our website Events page for more information as it becomes available.

November memories

We’ve been trying to make contact with former Choir members who sang in the 1989 Christmas Concert in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham to celebrate and to let them know about this year’s special event. The programme from 1989 lists 59 singers; there are 10 still singing in Goethe Choir, another 15 of whom we can contact and 5 deceased. The website is a way to keep up to date on what’s happening and anyone interested is welcome to register to receive our regular newsletter by going to The newsletter mailing list will only be used for the specific purpose of sharing news about the Goethe Choir’s activities and interests. Remembering the Kilmainham concert brings to mind those who are no longer with us, in particular Dick Cooper and John Curran, two tenors who died earlier this year – may they rest in peace.

November is also the month when we make the annual trip to Glencree for the service of peace and reconciliation, this year 17/11. Last year Ambassador Potzel spoke movingly about the aftermath of war – ‘so many families, so many hopes destroyed, so many lives not lived.’ Her family experience of war, partition and reunification suggests that however bleak things look on the political front, change is possible. So while we are looking forward to Bach on 16th December, we have been practising “Freude schöne Götterfunken” and planning to perform the Beethoven Choral Fantasy with John O’Connor in the National Concert Hall on 3rd May 2020, as part of the Beethoven bicentenary celebrations.

Christmas Oratorio revisited

Jauchzet, frohlocket! In the Christmas concert thirty years ago, performed in the the newly renovated Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Alison Browner was the Alto Soloist in both the Bach Magnificat and Weihnachtsoratorium Parts 1 and 2. To celebrate Christmas 2019 the Goethe Choir will perform Parts 2, 5 and 6 of the Weihnachtsoratorium in the NCH and is delighted to welcome as soloists not only Alison but also her daughter Hannah Gries, Soprano; as in 2018 Dustin Droszdiok will sing Tenor/Evangelist and the Bass will be Brendan Collins.  More details of the concert can be found on our website at   Tickets are available from the NCH but to mark this very special occasion we are offering Choir members who sang in 1989 2 tickets for the price of 1.  (Contact giving your name and address or email).

A project is underway to make available on the website a list of all concerts sung by the Goethe (Institut) Choir from 1966 on and to digitise material relating to the Choir. The 2019 Christmas Concert will surely evoke memories of previous performances of the Weihnachtsoratorium and we invite you to share those memories and score markings with the wider Goethe Choir community via the website.  Go to to post your comments or alternatively send an email to

German Unity Day reception

German Unity Day is a national holiday in Germany commemorating the reunification, which occurred in 1990, where the former GDR (East Germany) joined the Federal Republic of Germany, following the fall of the Berlin Wall on November 9, 1989. This year the choir was invited by ambassador Deike Potzel to sing the German, Irish and European anthems at the annual reception in her splendid residence Danesfield. We had a great choir turnout and got two rounds of applause and lots of praise, both from ambassador Potzel and from Dublin Lord Mayor Paul McAuliffe. There was a lovely outdoor party afterwards with miraculously good weather, excellent Franconian wine, Bavarian beer und Bratwurst.

Go to our website gallery page to see some photos of the members of the choir who performed at the function.

New season starts here

The choir is getting ready to kick off our new season and to hit the ground running in our first rehearsal on Tuesday evening, 3rd September.  Amongst other things, we will be preparing for our next major engagement in the National Concert Hall in Dublin on Monday, 16th December, when we will be performing our traditional Christmas concert.  This year we will be completing our 2018 performance of Bach’s Christmas Oratorio by singing parts 2, 5 and 6, as well as performing a number of other seasonal works and a selection of carols.   For more information go to

We are also looking to attract new members to the choir in all voice parts, so if you know of someone who would be interested in joining a lively and diverse collection of singers in one of Dublin’s leading choirs, get in touch with us.  Details of how to do this are available at

Season Finale at St. Finian’s

The choir will be bringing our 2018/19 season to an end with a performance at 8pm on Saturday evening 29 June at St. Finian’s Lutheran Church, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2, adjacent to our rehearsal venue at the Lutherhaus.  This will be a concert featuring the works of female composers covering a range of styles and periods, from the 12th century Germany of Hildegard of Bingen and the Renaissance Italy of Vittoria Aleotti through to the 20th and 21st century Ireland of Ina Boyle and Mary Kelly.  In addition to the choir, the concert will feature soprano Elisabeth Goell and alto Katie Richardson McCrea along with harpist Anne-Marie O’Farrell and Wolfgang Marx on the organ. Admission is free but there will be a collection in aid of the church roof fund.

The choir is delighted to have the opportunity to assist in the fund raising and to be able to show our appreciation of the use of the church facilities for our rehearsal venue during the year.  The evening also gives current and former choir members and also supporters of the choir the opportunity to bring the 2018/19 to a successful and social conclusion and to assist with this, wine and light refreshments will be available to the choir and audience members in the Lutherhaus after the concert.  So come along and join us on 29th June for our final performance of the season and help us celebrate another successful year’s music-making by the Goethe Choir.


Female composers at St. Finian’s

Continuing with the varied and innovative nature of our concert programming over the last few months, the Goethe Choir will be ending the 2018/19 season with a performance of works by female composers at St. Finian’s Lutheran Church, Adelaide Road, Dublin 2.  This takes place at 8pm on Saturday 29 June 2019.

The pieces to be performed are all by female composers from various countries and periods, and include compositions from Hildegard of Bingen and Vittoria Aleotti through Clara Schumann, Lili Boulanger and others to Irish composers Ina Boyle and Mary Kelly.   The concert features a number of soloists in addition to the choir, which will be conducted by our music director John Dexter with instrumental accompaniment conducted by Werner Blau.

Entry is free but there will be a collection in aid of the church roof fund.  Go to the choir events page for more information.

Jazz in the cathedral

Following our previous three concerts which featured one of JS Bach’s sacred choral works (Christmas concert 2018), a Monteverdi opera (Monteverdi’s L’Orfeo) and John Williams’ film music (We were not alone) the Goethe Choir once again demonstrated the variety of its programming and its ability to tackle a wide range of musical styles with a performance of Will Todd’s exciting jazz-inspired Mass in Blue at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin last Saturday evening, 25 May.

This was a repeat performance of the same work given by the choir in June 2018 in St. Ann’s Church in Dawson Street in Dublin and once again featured instrumental accompaniment by the composer and his band, this time with soprano soloist Hilary Cronin, all under the expert control of the choir’s musical director and conductor for the evening, John Dexter.  While the larger-scale performance area and acoustic created a different and possibly less intimate experience than the earlier performance, Will Todd’s jazz piano playing once again exhilarated a capacity audience and inspired the choir to create another moving and memorable evening’s music making.

Here’s a very short clip of Will Todd and the choir during the concert:

If you weren’t able to be there but would like to hear the choir singing the whole of the Mass in Blue with accompaniment from Will Todd and the band, click here to hear a recording of the choir’s performance in St. Ann’s in 2018.

Mass in Blue revisited

The Goethe Choir’s next concert will be a performance of Will Todd’s Mass in Blue at 8pm on Saturday 25 May in St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin.   The concert will be in aid of Carmichael Ireland.    The choir will be accompanied by the Will Todd Ensemble, featuring the composer himself on piano and Hilary Cronin as soprano soloist.

This work was first sung by the choir in St. Ann’s Church, Dublin, on 2 June 2018 and was received with critical acclaim.   This is another opportunity to hear a performance in Dublin of this dynamic, uplifting, and highly popular jazz setting of the Latin mass.  Go to the Events page on the choir website for details of how to order tickets online. And to get you in the mood, you can also listen on that web page to a recording of last year’s performance of the work by the choir.

We were not alone

The choir notched up another successful appearance at the National Concert Hall in Dublin last night (Friday 3 May) when we took part with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra in a concert performance of Steven Spielberg’s 1977 film ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’. This involved the film being shown on a large cinema screen suspended in front of the organ and central choir stalls, with the film’s dialogue being relayed to the audience via the speaker system, and also displayed via subtitles on the film, and the accompanying soundtrack being performed by orchestra and choir, members of the choir sitting in the remaining choir stalls at either side of the screen.

While we had no difficulty with the words (chiefly because there weren’t any), fitting the oohs and aahs and various sound effects in at the right time required a great deal of concentration and counting. Fortunately we were ably assisted by the conductor Ernst van Tiel who provided the necessary direction to orchestra and choir, synchronised exactly to the action on the screen with the assistance of his own monitor. Everything worked perfectly on the night resulting in a very exciting and atmospheric performance which was hugely enjoyed by the large audience, who showed their appreciation at the end with a standing ovation.

Another of the varied musical experiences which we all enjoy as members of the Goethe Choir. Thanks to all the singers who took part in this memorable evening and a special thanks to our choir director John Dexter in successfully preparing us for this somewhat different musical assignment.

A photo taken before the event by an audience member