roger courtney
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roger courtney

Band Folk Celtic


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Songs recorded by the Corrymeela Singers: The Pollen of Peace, Love until it Hurts, One World, Let your Love Flow, Father Forgive.
Demo CD in 2005: Peaceful Lakes of Erne, Gweedore, Girl from County Clare, Murlough bay, Love you and let go, Die the American Way, Let your Love Shine through, Don't take you love away, The Road to Ballisodare.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Roger was born and brought up in a musical family in Belfast. He was taught guitar by his father, Brian, who was also an accomplished songwriter, writing virtually all the songs & sketches for an annual review in the local church, in which all the Courtney family participated.

Roger graduated from Queen’s University, Belfast with a degree in Psychology and Philosophy. He then qualified as a youth & community worker in Birmingham. During which time he become involved in work for peace & reconciliation through the Corrymeela Singers, an ecumenical choir, which promoted peace & reconciliation in Ireland through music [see the section on the Corrymeela Singers]

While studying at Queens University, Belfast and becoming involved in Corrymeela, Roger wrote The Pollen of Peace, which became Corrymeela’s theme song . It has been translated into at least six languages and is regularly sung in churches and schools around the world. It can be found in the songs of praise Hymnbook ‘Come and Praise’ as well as the Church of Ireland Hymnal.

Roger was the founder and first co-ordinator of Crescent Youth & Community Resource Centre to facilitate follow-ups in Belfast to mixed Protestant & Catholic holiday schemes. The centre become increasingly used by drama, dance, music, visual arts & community arts groups and eventually became Crescent Arts Centre.

Roger then worked for 16 years with people who are homeless in Northern Ireland, as Chief Executive of the Simon Community (Simon Community NI website).

During this period Roger continued to write songs, particularly for the Corrymeela Singers, which released five recordings containing songs by Roger and as theme songs for the bi-annual Summerfest festivals at Corrymeela.

In 1980 four members of the Corrymeela Singers formed a smaller vocal group. These four were soon joined by a fifth, and became known as Banter. Banter regularly include songs by Roger in their repertoire. These songs have included Warriors of the Rainbow, The Carson Trail, Free Mandela, The Road to Ballisodare, Gweedore, Murlough Bay, The Girl from County Clare and the Irish Blessing.

Having received an MBE for his work with people who are homeless and written a history of the Simon Community in Northern Ireland, Roger left Simon In 1998. Over this period Simon had expanded from having two small houses in Belfast to a wide range of projects for people who were homeless all over Northern Ireland. Having developed a wide involvement in the wider voluntary sector and published three books on the Strategic Management of Voluntary organisations as well as several on fundraising, Roger become a freelance organisational development adviser to various voluntary organisations in Northern Ireland.

He has continued to write songs and in 2005 recorded a demo CD of 12 songs using some of Ireland’s leading singers and musicians, including Peter Corry, a very popular singer and performer, who since the recording has been performing several of Roger’s songs in concerts in Europe and America. He recorded Roger’s song Gweedore with Don Williams in Nashville.

Roger was a finalist in the 2006 UK Songwriting Competition. Two of his songs, Mother Teresa’s Message, which is featured in an educational resource publication, and Let your love shine through were chosen in 2006 to feature in a special charity compilation CD in the US. Roger recently appeared in the Ulster television Programme Hearts and Minds, singing his own satirical song about political developments in Northern Ireland, MLA Blues