Since their return to rehearsals in September 2006, Roscrea Community Choir had been busy rehearsing for the planned concert on Tuesday last, November 7th. Rehearsals were doubled in the final weeks before the actual performance to “fine tune” all the pieces being performed on the night. Nervous energy and expectations were both at a high level. This was because the forthcoming concert was in aid of “The Laurels” – Roscrea’s own hospice unit, and all choir members were extremely anxious that the audience would receive good value for their support, especially as for many choir members, this was their debut.
Mix with this the added edge that Roscrea’s local hero Mr. Nigel Williams would join the choir for some numbers as well as his own solo performances. Nigel, a superb bass, came to national fame when he won the prestigious O’Mara Cup for the best male voice in the televised final of the Golden Voice of Ireland competition in 1985. Since then he has gone from strength to strength and travelled extensively performing various roles. He joined the choir on Tuesday night fresh from the National Concert Hall, Dublin where he performed on Monday 6th November. The choir were both delighted and honoured that a performer of Nigel’s calibre joined them for the night’s performance.
The narrator on the night was our own Adrian Hewson. Adrian is well known as a speaker and preacher of the highest calibre. He is one of Roscrea’s hidden treasures and the choir were delighted that he consented to be ‘fear an tí’ for the night to aid such a worthy cause. Superbly and wittily, Adrian expertly introduced each segment of the night’s performances.
The choir performed a total of seventeen pieces on the night, including their encore. There were also two performances by choir members. Firstly there was a solo performance of Brahms Lullaby in German from Ms. Rose Marie Doyle. Then later in the night’s programme, sisters Mrs. Mary Kelly and Siobhán Bowe performed a duet – the Rathlin Cradle Song. Both performances were greatly appreciated by the audience. Nigel performed two solo spots; the first was his favourite gospel songs by Harry T. Burleigh. Later in the evening he treated the audience to some loved “Show Stoppers”. As an encore, Nigel sang that most famous of bass pieces - “Old Man River”.
This led to the final part of the programme. Ms. Rose Marie Doyle thanked all our various helpers and sponsors – especially Walsh Printers for their sponsorship of the posters and tickets, Mrs. Lucy Stapleton of Roscrea Music Store for vending tickets, Roscrea Credit Union for the use of their facilities and the Williams family for their support.
Needless to say a special words of appreciation are reserved for the choir’s musical director Mrs. Lucia McCarthy and accompanist Mrs. Joan Murray for their Trojan work in the preparation and execution of the concert programme. Joan also accompanied Nigel Williams during his performances. The choir members presented bouquets of flowers to Lucia and Joan in appreciation of their continued hard work. Choir members also made a presentation to Nigel Williams who performed free of charge to aid such a deserving cause.
As the choir were about to perform their final piece, an unexpected interruption took place. In a “This is Your Life” style appearance, Denis O’Sullivan of TippFm’s Arts Show appears from the presbytery. To the surprise of all present he announces that Roscrea Community Choir have been awarded the TippFm October Arts Award. These awards are granted – one each month – to the performers of the best arts activity for that month. At a gala dinner early next January, the overall arts activity of the year will be announced from those who received each month’s award. Denis O’Sullivan then interviewed the choir’s musical director Ms. Lucia McCarthy and recorded both the interview and the finale for next Tuesday’s TippFm Arts Show, which goes on air at 7pm.
Roscrea Community Choir is absolutely delighted with both the warmth and appreciation of the large audience on the night and especially with the way they joined in many of the communal pieces. It is indeed a source of pleasure to the choir members that their efforts were so appreciated on the night. Needless to say they are also delighted that their efforts received the prestigious TippFm Arts Award for October – and a special word of thanks goes to our anonymous nominee for the award.
Many thanks to all the supporters who bought tickets for such a worthy cause and turned up on the night. Judging from the comments given to choir members following the concert, you really enjoyed the range of music. A special word of appreciation and thanks is reserved for St. Cronan’s Church of Ireland Community under the guidance of Rev. Leslie Robinson for the use of their church as a venue and their support on the night.
A good reflection of success is the money gathered for The Laurels. The choir is delighted that to date the concert has netted €5,500 for the local hospice unit.
Roscrea Community Choir is a multi-denominational group of singers, under the able baton of Mrs. Lucia McCarthy. The choir rehearses each Monday night from September till May at 8pm in the local Methodist Hall. There are currently about 45 members in the choir and new members are always welcome. The choir sings a wide range of music from operatic to contemporary pieces in up to four-part harmony. The choir performs at least one major concert annually as fundraisers for local charities as well as the traditional Carol Singing, again for charity, every Christmas.
For the last six years, Roscrea Community Choir has travelled and sung abroad. Trips have included singing in St. Peter’s Square for the late Pope John Paul ll, performing in the cathedral in Amalfi at the request of the bishop, singing in Vivaldi’s church in Venice and last year – a trip to Prague. Further trips are currently in the pipeline.
Anyone wishing to join the choir is most welcome to attend the practices – the only requirement is that you can sing!