Thursday 20 June 2019

My cultural life: Veronica McCarron, musical director

Veronica McCarron
Veronica McCarron
It's a Wonderful Life
Strictly Dancing

Born in Enniskillen, Veronica grew up in Scotland, studying music at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, Glasgow. For 45 years she taught in Australia, USA, and Presentation Secondary School, Kilkenny, reaching the Britain's Got Talent final in 2016. She was named Kilkenny 'Person of the Year' for Music, in 2007 and 2016. She experienced sadness in her life including divorce and the death of her son, Antony, but music always helps her through her grief. She currently directs Aris Choir, sponsored by Allianz. They performed at the Papal concert and Mass this summer and recently at Aras an Uachtarain for President Michael D Higgins, Their debut concert is on January 4 at the National Concert Hall, performing pieces from their album This Is Us. She also directs the Donegal Ceol le Cheile, involving children from the age of seven to seniors up to 90.

TV: Strictly Come Dancing

I love programmes like Strictly Come Dancing (below) and I also love the great period dramas produced by the BBC, like Great Expectations and Pride and Prejudice. I think I was born in the wrong era. I love the stories, costumes, great period houses and lifestyles of those times. I also enjoy watching political programmes and discussions, especially those on CNN, and reading my favourite newspapers.

Strictly Dancing

Choir: Mormon Tabernacle Choir

My favourite choir, apart from my own two choirs Aris and the Donegal Ceol Le Cheile, is the great Mormon Tabernacle Choir, a choir of great depth, emotion and intensity. Listen to them singing The Lord's Prayer by Albert Hay Malotte, with the great Andrea Bocelli as the soloist. Heavenly.

Music: Beethoven


As a musician, this is impossible to answer, since I have so many favourites, and I'm always discovering more. I love all kinds of good music, from Bach to Beethoven (above), from Johnny Cash to Rory Gallagher. I have a very wide, all-encompassing eclectic taste in music.

Quote: 'Give your voice a facelift'

My former choir teacher in Glasgow 55 years ago used to say this to us all the time in our choir rehearsals. As a singer, it's so important to engage facial and body energy. You are the instrument, and connecting with the words and audience is vital. Also the quote "No tears in the writer/ No tears in the reader" from American writer Robert Frost. I also say this constantly to my voice students and choir members about feeling the meaning and emotion of the words.

Film: It's a Wonderful Life

It's a Wonderful Life

My favourite film is the memorable Christmas classic It's a Wonderful Life (above), starring the great James Stewart, as a man down on his luck, who decides his family would be better off if he had never been born. Frank Capra wrote and directed the film as a tribute to every person born into this world, to show the value and preciousness of every life. It must be watched in black and white. It's absolutely not the same in colour!

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