Hibernian Festival Singers      Long Island, New York

About Us

A Brief History

What started out as a twelve person community choir under the leadership of Mr. Ronnie Allen has grown and developed into a seventy person, four part choral ensemble. The Hibernian Festival Singers have performed extensively both nationally and internationally. Their tours have included the 150th commemoration of the Great Hunger in Ireland, Solemn Mass at the Vatican in Rome, Notre Dame, Le Mont-St. Michel, Lourdes, the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Chartres, La Madeleine Church in Paris, Normandy's American Cemetery and Beaches as well as concerts throughout the United States. Some performances of particular acclaim have been Radio City Music Hall, Carnegie Hall, the Columbus Day Parade in Manhattan, Westbury and Valley Forge Music Fairs, St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City, St. Ignatius Basilica in Rome, the Stonehill College Irish Festival, the Hofstra University Irish Festival, the St. James Irish Festival, the Nassau Coliseum, Trump Plaza and Shea Stadium.  The Hibernian Festival Singers have had the privilege of sharing the stage with such exceptional artists as the late Frank Patterson, Eily Patterson, Ronan Tynan, Anthony Kearns, Kathryn Smith, Ciarán Sheehan, Gay Willis, John McDermott, Hal Roach, Andy Cooney, Phil Coulter, and so many more

In 2015, The Hibernian Festival Singers were thrilled to perform in an Off-Broadway production called "The Events" which received glowing reviews from the New York Times. 

Beyond these notable achievements, the group has donated their time to sing for many community, civic, church and Ancient Order of Hibernian functions. They look forward to providing both their local and their larger global com­munity with many more years of quality Irish entertainment.

Management of the Hibernian Festival Singers

The Hibernian Festival Singers is managed by an elected Executive Board, consisting of a President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Historian, Librarian and representatives from each vocal section. Additionally, the Conductor and Chairpersons of Publicity, Fund Raising and Wardrobe also sit on the Board. They are governed by an established set of by-laws. 

Our Conductor

The Hibernian Festival Singers is presently under the direction of Mr. Christopher Bilella. Christopher earned his Bachelor’s degree in Music Education for voice and piano from the Hartt School of Music in Connecticut where he studied choral conducting with James Jordan of the Westminster Choral College, Pamela Perry of the University of Connecticut and Gerald Mack of the Gerald Mack Choral Series. Through James Jordan, Christopher was introduced to, and studied voice with Jerome Pruett and David Ray Smith at the Metropolitan Opera House in New York City.

In 1999, Christopher was awarded a Master’s Degree in Education from Dowling College, and in 2009, earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Capella University in Minneapolis. In 2009, he was honored as “Teacher of the Month” by News 12 Long Island and Dowling College.  

Christopher currently teaches chorus at the Bay Shore High School where he is also the Director of the Drama Club. His choirs have performed at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, in honor of the 60th Anniversary Memorial of WWll and the 150th Commemoration of the Battle of Gettysburg in Pennsylvania.

In 1992, Christopher was hired as an accompanist for the Hibernian Festival Singers. Since 1998, he has served as the Conductor where he and the “Singers” have received rave reviews for their performances at venues such as Carnegie Hall, the Lyric Opera House in Baltimore, Westbury Music Fair, Shea Stadium, Nassau Coliseum, the Vatican, and the National Concert Hall in Dublin. 

Christopher has also composed several of the arrangements of Irish music for the Hibernian Festival Singers.  He is honored to share the stage with all of these wonderful musicians.

Our Accompanists

Ms. Dianne O'Neill of Kings Park, Long Island is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music in Boston. Her professional career as a pianist has taken her worldwide. Some of her most memorable performances include a concert in St. Maarten with Patti LaBelle and tours throughout the United States with artists such as Jaco Pastorius, the Cavaliers, Mark Wills and the Thompson Brothers. Ms. O'Neill can most often be found performing at weddings, concerts, corporate affairs, teaching piano or producing musical recordings of all styles in her private studio. She is an active member of NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International). Ms. O'Neill has been sharing her talent with the Hibernian Festival Singers since January of 2000.

Katie G. Malpigli is a graduate of The Hartt School of Music at the University of Hartford where she received her degree in Music Education. Katie has also completed her masters degree at SUNY Stony Brook. Currently, Katie is back teaching at her alma mater in Bay Shore Middle School where she directs the 7th Grade Band and is also involved in the musical productions at the High School.

Christina Mendolia is an alumnus of the Bay Shore School District, where she is currently the orchestra director at the Middle School, and the music director of the High School musicals.  She has a private studio and performs regularly, primarily with the Hibernian Festival Singers and her string quartet, Counterpoint.  After graduating from Bay Shore, Mrs. Mendolia attended the Hartt School of Music where she received her degree in Music Education, then later received a Masters degree in Liberal Studies from Stony Brook University. She recently finished her second masters in School Administration at Capella University.

Prospective Members Information

To contact someone regarding membership, please see our Like to Join us? page

The Hibernian Festival Singers is continually seeking qualified singers for the soprano, alto, tenor and bass parts. Singers must have the ability to learn a part and sing with a pleasant, blending voice. Sight-reading is not a mandatory requirement, but it is helpful. Auditions are scheduled by appointment with the Conductor and the Managing Director.

Membership Requirements

Members of the Hibernian Festival Singers are required to pay yearly dues of $125. Dues may be paid in two installments in September and January. Each singer is required to attend all rehearsals, purchase all music (cost is kept at a reasonable level) and memorize all performance pieces. The Hibernian Festival Singers rehearse year round on Thursday evenings from 7:30pm to 10:00pm. A strict concert dress code is maintained. Costumes may be ordered at a reasonable price upon acceptance into the organization. In order to defray some of the expenses of the group, members are asked to participate in a variety of fund raising activities through­out the year. All Singers are also expected to sell tickets to performances.

Benefits of Membership

As a member of the Hibernian Festival Singers, you will experience the love of and dedication to high quality choral production. Within a supportive, friendly environment, your level of musical performance will vastly improve. You will be given the chance to experience camaraderie with fellow skilled singers who are committed to excellence and expressiveness in the performance of choral works of all genres. Additionally, you will be afforded the opportunity for extensive traveling both in the United States and abroad. Members are also given the opportunity to participate in professional studio recording. Lastly, each member receives a seasonal newsletter with all current information relative to the Hibernian Festival Singers.

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