University Concert Hall, Michael O’ Suilleabháin, The Chieftains – all a dream come through for branch members Kathryn Browne and Marion Feehan from Roscrea Comhaltas who were part of the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance Group who participated in the recent Chieftains Concert held in the University of Limerick.
The Concert commenced with the girls and their classmates providing the entertainment. They started proceedings with a French Waltz followed by Sarah Allen’s Jig called “A Quiet Autumn” and finished the set with the “Conspiracy” Reel. This set was danced to by some dancers who like the girls are studying for a BA in Irish Music and Dance. Next one of the group members Adrian Johnston sang an incredible version of “Bonny Blue-Eyed Nancy”. He was accompanied on piano by Ernestine Healy one of the group’s mentors on the night. Ernestine is an accomplished concertina player and hails from Co. Mayo.
The next set performed was a set of two slip jigs which was swiftly followed by a group song “Mo Pháistín Fionn”. The five verses were sung by solo singers Maebh Ní Bheaglaoich – daughter of renowned performer Seamus Begley, Rachel Griffin, Adrian Johnston, and Ciara Daly. The group provided two musical interludes between verses which were highly harmonised and with the inclusion of the viola, set an amazing atmosphere in the packed auditorium.
After this the group were joined by two graduates of the course Aidan O’ Donnell – a talented fiddle player from Co. Donegal and Ciaran Munnelly an outstanding flute player who hails from Co. Mayo. The two were then joined for a second number by Sean Keane and Matt Molloy of the Chieftains.
Paddy Moloney was then welcomed to the stage with rapturous applause and he played two tunes with Michelle Ní hAoláin and David Bonacina - the two first year pipers. The Group finished their first half performance with two very well known tunes the “Dunmore Lasses” and the “Bucks of Oranmore” and were accompanied on stage by the whole first year dance troop who finished the performance in fantastic style and were outstanding for a group who had only met each other two months previously.
Paddy Moloney had no trouble keeping the audience’s attention and with such a great line up of performers the second half was just as amazing as the first. The Chieftains were joined by singer Alyth McCormack – this Scottish singer was mesmerizing in her performances. They were also joined by fiddler Jon Pilatski who performed frantic bouts of dance and he teamed up with Cara Dillon another dancer for several sets including an infectiously vigorous one in which the trio flew through steps while seated on chairs which had the entire auditorium laughing and clapping.
The Limerick City Pipe Band also performed some pieces and also Prof. Micheál O’ Súileabháin performed several pieces on the piano including a duet of the well known slow air Sliabh na mBan with Paddy Moloney on whistle. Yvonne Kane an up and coming fiddle player was also truly superb on the night.
The finale was one of utter style, with each guest performer on the night showing of their absolute talent – the most memorable being Kevin Conneffe’s lilting and bodhrán solo. At the very end of the show all the students who performed in the earlier half of the show joined the Chieftains and the special guests for an unusual Cape Breton tune and the dancers performed a very simple snake dance through the aisles of the auditorium – picking up people along the way!
The night ended with a standing ovation and no one was disappointed with the array of talent show cased on the night. We hope this is just the start for our two young members Kathryn and Marion.