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The Final Chord of Ireland

The Choir of Saint James, Canon James Buonemani, Rev. Dr. Kate Cress outside of St. Nicholas Collegiate Church, Galway, Ireland

This submission was written by the Dean for The Choir of Saint James, Adam Noel.


As I write this, it is the eve of the choir’s final time singing together on this tour to Ireland. We will be singing the morning Eucharist service at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church in Galway, which serves as a perfect bookend paired with our first sung Eucharist at Christ Church Cathedral in Dublin a week ago. I find myself reflecting on the week past, our three performances in Tullamore, Cork, and Galway, and the connections that have been made.

As a member of the choir council, I was involved in much of the planning of the tour as well as the anxieties that come with that responsibility. Will all our bookings be correct? Will we sing our best? Am I serving as a good ambassador of St. James? Many other people worked very hard to make this trip happen, and I know I was not alone in those anxieties. But it’s not difficult to look back on those moments where I could let those anxieties melt away. It was in the echoes of a final chord that locked in perfect harmony, ringing through the ancient churches and cathedrals. It was in the smiles of the welcoming locals after we sung a familiar Irish tune. It was in the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean reminding me of how we’re all connected even on other sides of the globe.

I feel so fortunate to have represented St. James in this way. Fortunate to have shared music both ancient and new from all over the world as well as music from Los Angeles, including stunning works by our own Canon James Buonemani. Fortunate to have spoken with appreciative guests of our music. And fortunate to have grown closer as a choir, as a church, and hopefully a global community.

I could never list in one blog post all the amazing and spectacular things I saw and experienced in this beautiful country. Or all the people that need to be thanked to have made this happen. Or the number of times I mispronounced a Gaelic word. So instead I will sign off with a thank you for supporting our journey, and wish you good health. Sláinte mhaith.