07 Jul 2022

Derry Choir festival's Dónal Doherty awarded honorary MBE for services to music

Derry Choir festival's Dónal Doherty awarded honorary MBE for services to music

Hundreds of heartfelt and warm messages of congratulations have been sent to Dónal from all over the world

Derry Choir Festival's Artistic Director, Dónal Doherty, has been awarded an honorary MBE for his services to music in Northern Ireland.

Speaking after the announcement, Dónal said: "I'm absolutely delighted to accept this award on behalf of everyone involved in the City of Derry International Choir Festival, members of Codetta choirs and the many wonderful colleagues I've worked with over the years in connection with music and music-making. 

"It has been and continues to be a privilege to share the joy and transformative power of music and singing with so many."

Dónal is the Artistic Director of Codetta Choirs. His love of choral music was nurtured as a member of the Schola Cantorum in St Finian’s College Mullingar and later at University College Dublin.

He was appointed Head of Music Services for the Western Region of the Education Authority of Northern Ireland in 1996 and assumed responsibility for both the Western and Southern Regions in 2011. 

He served as Director of Music at St. Eugene’s Cathedral from 1982 - 1996 and, in 2013, was appointed Director of the Music Promise initiative, a key element of the inaugural UK City of Culture programme in Derry.

In the same year, he founded the City of Derry International Choir Festival. 

A joyous celebration of all that choral singing has to offer, the annual festival presents concerts by world-renowned vocal groups, competitions for choirs, workshops and educational events for singers and conductors, and community concerts and choral trails in landmark locations across Derry and the surrounding area.

Since its inception the festival has engaged over 10,000 singers from six continents across the world.

His international prize-winning choir Codetta was formed in 2001. Since then, they have earned a reputation for choral excellence including the top award of the Fleischmann Trophy at the Cork International Choral Festival in 2017. 

Codetta have given many concerts both nationally and internationally, including performances in the United States, Italy, Spain, the Czech Republic, Norway, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Past highlights include two Prom performances in the Royal Albert Hall in London, Last Night of the Proms in Belfast and special guest choir for the 2015 BBC Sports Personality of the Year, which was broadcast live to an audience in excess of eight million viewers.

In May 2016, Codetta performed with Barry Douglas and Camerata in the Kennedy Centre in Washington.

Since the prestigious honour was announced, hundreds of heartfelt and warm messages of congratulations have been sent to Dónal from all over the world.

Fiona Crosbie, Festival Manager, said: "The outpour of messages is testament to the fact that his lifetime devoted to excellence in music and his inspirational contribution to choral singing have travelled far beyond the walls of the city and touched the lives of so many people, far and wide." 

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