A Virtual Production of 'COLMCILLE' for 2021!Comille suite front cover sm

Inviting all harpers to participate in the virtual performance of the Colmcille Suite commemorating the 1500th anniversary of St.Colmcille's birth.

With all the uncertainties of life in the arts world now, Janet Harbison’s ‘Colmcille 1500’ project is going ‘digital’! Her suite for soprano, harps, chorus, bells and chimes, entitled simply ‘Colmcille’, was first performed in 1997 with the Belfast Harp Orchestra, soprano Mairead Healy and choirs from all over Northern Ireland and western Scotland. This was to join the churches of all Christian denominations commemorating the 1400th anniversary of St.Colmcille’s death.

In 2021, we celebrate the 1500th anniversary of his birth and we will perform ‘Colmcille’ once more – but this time, it will be a virtual concert that will be a 50 minute video performance. All participants (harps, voices, chimes etc) will video performances of their parts to a ‘base track’ (heard on headphones) prepared from teaching and rehearsal videos – for both singers and harpers. The scores and training videos are available from the end of November 2020, rehearsal videos from January 2021 and performances to be submitted by September 1st – with the launch-date of December 7th, Colmcille’s actual birthday.

There will be two other elements intended for this video production. The first is a series of visual sequences interspersed through the video of places associated with Colmcille. This will include his birthplace in Gartan, Donegal; his chapel in (L’)Derry; his refuge (and pilgrimage trail) in Glencolmcille; and after views of a the Colmcille project boat rowing across the sea to Iona, Scotland (this sequence to be confirmed), and of Colmcille’s Abbey there.. 

The second element is a film of a live ‘Book of Kells’ inspired illumination of the 150th psalm ‘Laudate Dominum’ which completes the Colmcille suite and invites the virtual production audience to join with the choir in chanting the final psalm. This is the psalm that invites us to: ‘Praise the Lord with Lute and Harp’. The illumination will be undertaken by the celebrated medieval calligrapher, Jane Sullivan, who will partner us in this production.

Click to listen to an exerpt of the finale Laudate Dominum



 Visit the CD downloadable tracks - where there is a 30 second clip of each track

How it will work for the participants 

November 2020 

Scores and rehearsal videos are available to all prospective participants. The purchase of the score automatically includes participation in the production and participants will choose from the following: 

Vol 1 - Director’s Score  The full score available in A4 or A3

Vol 2 - Harp Part 1 Low intermediate - Beginner orchestra part Players of at least 2 years experience 

Vol 3 - Harp Part 2 and Part 3 - High intermediate  Intermediate orchestra part Players of 2 – 5 years experience 

Vol 4 - Harp Part 4 and Solo - Advanced  Players of 8 + years experience 

Vol 5 - Choral and Vocal Solos 

Vol 6 - Narrators

Vol 7 - Handbell and C, D & A Chimes

All scores are available from Janet's shop or may be hired or licensed for downloading as appropriate. 

Order your part score and with this comes access to Part Videos to assist with your training; rehearsal tracks and directions for video-ing your part (not expected until the end of August 2021).

January 2021

A conducting video will be posted with a sound-track (for participant’s headphones) for assistance with rehearsal. Between January and August 31st, Janet is available to participants needing assistance with the preparation of their parts – but the technical aspect of production is with the participants! 

September 1st 2021 

All participants are requested to submit their video performances which will be edited into the full production.

This will be launched on December 7th 2021, Colmcille’s birthday. 

Live performances

Live performances of this work are hoped for and harp school directors who would like to arrange their own performances of the full work, or parts of it are most welcome. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.