Christmas at the Cathedral back after year out with music maestro promising to capture magic of season
Northern Ireland music maestro Peter Corry is set to bring back some festive magic with the return of his annual ‘Christmas in the Cathedral’ concert.
The celebration of Christmas music had to be cancelled for the first time ever last year due to Covid-19 and Peter is thrilled to be back at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast with a stellar line-up of local artists.
An event which after 12 years has become part of Christmas tradition for hundreds of families here, tickets for two concerts sold out within hours leading to the announcement of an extra date.
The West End star says: “Christmas at the Cathedral is one of the highlights of my year and to be able to bring it back after the pandemic has been extremely important to me.
“St Anne’s Cathedral is a majestic location which really helps to bring to life the true meaning of Christmas — a time for hope, love and happiness and I am so looking forward to making 2021 extra special.”
A prolific performer, producer and director of international renown, like others in the entertainment industry, Peter has had the quietest 18 months in a career which has spanned three decades.
He also recently battled Covid-19 and is grateful to be back to good health and doing what he loves most.
The singer explains: “I love what I do and get so much satisfaction and buzz out of it that when it was taken away it was quite strange.
“Over the past year we have tried to make things happen in different ways and it wasn’t ideal but it was something.
“I am director of Belfast School of Performing Arts and we had rehearsals a couple of weeks ago and although we were all quite careful, I did catch Covid.
“It felt really strange being isolated in a room in the house from Fleur (his wife) for 10 days. I had a couple of bad days and I was surprised at how quickly I got bad.
“I tested positive on a Tuesday and went to bed not feeling too bad but woke up a few hours later hardly breathing and with a 38 degree temperature.
“Thankfully it didn’t last too long and I have made a good recovery.” The decision to go ahead with his Christmas concert was not taken lightly and despite restrictions on numbers inside venues now easing, Peter has decided to retain social distancing in the cathedral.
He says: “When it came to September/October I knew we had to make a decision about the Christmas concerts and we decided to go ahead but to keep social distancing in place to give people that little bit more confidence.
“We had 800 seats two years ago per show and we have reduced it to 450.
“We weren’t sure if people would want to come out yet and we were really surprised when the tickets sold out in record time and we’ve put on another date which is also going well.
“Music at Christmas is such a special thing and people have said to me after our concerts that it really put them in the mood for Christmas which is fantastic.
“I just hope it helps bring back Christmas to its former glory and captures the magic of the season.”
Appearing on stage with Peter will be music phenomenon and lead clarinettist of the Ulster Orchestra, Francesco Paola Scola, as well as the distinguished American singer, actress and playwright Abbe Tanenbaum, who now lives in Northern Ireland.
Also included will be accomplished singer and musician Matthew Campbell; skilled multi-instrumentalist Oisín McCann; instrumental composer, writer and musician Gary Hunt; and the enchanting music ensemble Adoro.
Directed by Ashley Fulton, whose passion and talent are renowned in the industry, Peter hopes that it will be an enchanted evening filled with festive songs and beautiful music.
He adds: “This year I have decided to keep it local and we have a fabulous line-up of artists.
“While some of the performers have lived here their entire lives, others have decided to make Northern Ireland their home.
“What a better way to celebrate Christmas in Northern Ireland, than to come together and enjoy festive music from the diverse array of talent which surrounds us here.”