Trent Bruner

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Trent Bruner on tour with The Unneland Community Choir in Dublin, Ireland Print E-mail

For the first time ever, I took a trip to Dublin, Ireland. This trip took place from September 20th-23nd with the Unneland Community Choir (Unnelandskoret), a district choir located east of Bergen, Norway.

This choir is conducted by Tone Lise Moberg while I went as their accompanist on piano and guitar. We flew on Friday, September 20th from Bergen to Dublin, checked into our hotel, and then practiced for the weekend performances. After practice, we went to various Dubin restaurants for a late lunch and made opportunities to take in some of the local tourist attractions in Dublin’s downtown. In the evening, many took in some live performances of Irish folk music in some of the local pubs and ate a late supper at these venues, including Yours truly.

Saturday, September 21st was our busiest day of the tour. We first gave a 40 minute lunch concert at St. Patrick’s Cathederal, one of Dublin’s most famous churches. The acoustics were outstanding, I had a wonderful baby grand piano to play on, and the choir sang very well.  We then went to eat a lunch of ”Fish and Chips” at Ireland’s oldest pub, The Brazen Head, which was not far from St. Patrick’s Cathederal. Afterwards, Håvard Reiten (tenor, keyboard accordion) and I (guitar) accompanied the choir on foot for the remaining concerts. 

We then went to the famous Guinness Storehouse, where the Guinness beers are brewed. We sang four Irish pub songs at the brewery’s tourist exhibit for many tourists and employees, took a brief tour, and bought some souvenirs at their boutique. We then took a bus to a traditional Irish pub/restaurant on Dublin’s south side called The Merry Ploughboy. This pub/restaurant is owned by traditional Irish musicians and attracts many bus tours of international tourists, as well as dedicated locals who enjoy traditional Irish music. The Irish folk music group ”The Merry Ploughboys” gave two 60 minute sets that left the audience well entertained and featured a group of five Irish dancers who danced both Gaelic dance and Irish stepdance between sets. We were given an opportunity to sing two Irish pub songs during the break as well. That wrapped our Saturday.

Sunday morning, September 22nd saw the choir travel by bus south to County Wicklow and Powerspoint Gardens, an immaculate garden and golf course area that was more than beautiful on a sunny day. We gave a 15 minute performance outside the former mansion. We then had the chance to meet and hear a 15 minute performance from a Norwegian male chorus called The Ålesund Male Chorus, who come from the city of Ålesund along Norway’s central coast. They were also on a tour of Dublin and area. Both choirs then travelled by bus to Glendalough, an Irish national historic site and national park, located about one hour south of the Dublin city limits.  It was here that early Catholic monestaries were established for hundreds of years before England invaded Ireland in the late 1700s and early 1800s. We had the chance to sing one church song inside one of the remaining churches that was still standing and enclosed. We were thrilled with the acoustics as the choir sang as one. We then shared an Irish Stew lunch with the Ålesund Male Chorus before returning to Dublin. 

In closing, the members of the choir stayed and enjoyed the sights and sounds of Dublin for one more day, but Tone Lise Moberg and I had to return to Norway that Sunday because of teaching commitments on Monday, and I also began work as a conductor for another choir in the Bergen area that same Monday; a Bergen Women’s choir called ”The Evening Sounds Womens Chorus” (Damekoret Tonekveld). Nevertheless, it was an enjoyable tour and it left me wanting to come back again another time. 

That wraps up another report on tour for me. Until the next time, we’ll see you down the musical trail!

Musically Yours, Trent