Formed by Audrey Corbett, the choir’s first performance was of Handel’s Messiah which took place in Galway in December 1983; a work repeated many times by the choir since that night, most recently in December 2013 when the singers celebrated their 30th anniversary by singing this glorious work in the wonderful setting of Galway Cathedral.
Over thirty years of music making has given singers and audiences in Galway an opportunity to experience the great joy of choral music. The choir has performed a huge repertoire-Oratorios, Masses, Requiems, Glorias, Magnificats. All of these ranging from the 16th century to present day compositions.
In 2004 GBS sang a concert called From Broadway to Ireland in which they performed music from The Great Musicals.
In 2011 their summer concert was named “Baroques Lite”, and in 2012 A Taste of Summer –these two concerts featured the lighter side of the choral repertoire.
As a mark of its excellence, the choir for 30 years has been invited to sing annually with the RTE concert orchestra under conductors Proinnsías Ó Duinn, David Brophy, Fergus Sheil, John Kavanagh, Owain Arwel Hughes, Karl Jenkins (Armed Man and the Irish premiere of his Stabat Mater), John Wilson (Gilbert & Sullivan Extravaganza) and English conductor, Richard Balcombe (Ultimate Choral Classics).
Galway Baroque Singers have been very successful in competition winning numerous awards and prizes including 3 times the Premier National Award and 3rd place in the International competition in the Cork International Choral Festival.They received major awards in Limerick and Sligo and in 1998 were nominated as Choir of the Year in Navan before going to take part in the International Eisteddfod in Llangollen, Wales, 1999.
2001 saw the release of their CD, De Anima, a recording renowned for its beauty of sound and sensitivity.
In 2003 GBS had the honour of singing at the conferring ceremony of Nelson Mandela at NUI Galway.
The choir has developed a special relationship with the RTE ConTempo string quartet whom they met in 2003 on ConTempo’s arrival in Galway and have performed on many occasions with them –Mozart-Handel-Pergolesi. They look forward to future concerts with this extraordinarily gifted quartet.
The highly renowned independent film maker Bob Quinn immortalized the choir in his last film, Vox Humana-notes for a small opera (2008) which featured the singing of the choir in an exquisite blend of narrative and music. Written and directed by him whose previous films express a great anger at the injustices in the world, Bob Quinn has declared this work to be motivated by love, the serenity of the choir’s “heavenly sound” contrasting with the tragedy and lack of compassion in our society.
The choir enjoys collaborating with other choral groups, local and visiting choirs. In 2014 they sang Mendelssohn’s Elijah with Our Lady’s Choral Society, conductor Proinnsías Ó Duinn. The two choirs joined forces again in 2015 for performances of Puccini Messa di Gloria and Mozart Mass in C minor.
In 2016 Galway Baroque Singers embarked on a unique project with the Dun Laoghaire Choral Society called Choral Fusion in order to sing a series of concerts for double choir. These performances took place in both Dublin and Galway.
2018 was the 35th anniversary of the Galway Baroque Singers and event which was marked with a performance of Handel’s Messiah in Galway Cathedral
None of this could have been achieved without the musicianship and dedication of our director, Audrey Corbett, who continues to challenge us with music many of us would never otherwise have sung.