Saturday 23 March 2013

A Bit of Culture

Pictures in this post are by Keith Nolan Photography, first published in Facebook.

On Friday evening we were invited by Vendor Anna to attend an evening of choral singing performed by Carrick on Shannon's Millennium Choir in which Anna sings. This was a lovely opportunity to get out of the grungy farm clothes for a change, scrub up and go and do 'posh', or at least 'respectable'. These evenings are very popular and the tickets (only a €-tenner) sell out; the choir which has been going since 1998 is very highly regarded locally and has attracted some high class talent. They regularly get to sing with invited professional singers, they have a very good quality orchestra and are even getting pieces written especially for them.

Having said all that, readers who know me will know that I do not normally 'do' choirs, I am not a great fan of operatic warblings, especially up in the soprano range and was very undecided whether I would enjoy the event or whether it might become a 'duty'. I am also badly ignorant of the music and will not remember half the names, and there was no programme or song-list. I am, therefore rather nervously going to try to do the show justice in this blog-post but if anyone (especially Anna) spots any howlers then please do comment or email me.

Anna and Paul had set us up well - we had tickets, instructions not to bother trying to park in the main street but instead use the Landmark Hotel's car-park, and an offer by Paul to hold seats for us. The latter we should have accepted but we declined - we don't want to be any trouble, we said, we'll manage; we'll sit where we get put. If anyone was put off coming by the vile wind and rain, then it did not show - the church was crammed with all seats taken (I'd guess around 6-700 souls) even by the time we arrived (19:45) so we mucked in helping bring some stacking chairs to the back of the church before nabbing 2 of these! Even so, there were still plenty of people standing at the back leaning on the walls or the baptismal font. We sat at the back by the font. This was not ideal as there were to be a couple of inset pieces by small children singing, traditional musicians including a harpist, 2 dancers and by a couple of little ones doing trad Irish dancing. None of this could we see except for the boy-dancer's head bobbing up and down. Neither could we see the orchestra.

 Well the choir definitely looked the part, the gents in best bib and tucker with purple bow ties and the ladies were in purple robes. An energetic MC lady in orange did the honours on introducing songs (and, as I said, Thank Heavens for that, as I would not have had a clue. As it is I am typing from memory; you couldn't really take notes!).

(The 'show' included a huge range of types of music and styles. We started with a romping rendition of 76 Trombones and worked our way through some religious stuff ( for example a Vivaldi 'Gloria'), old show tunes  and film songs (Talk to the Animals), the lovely 'Barcelona' by Freddie Mercury, with a really fine coloratura lady taking the Monserrat Caballe part. and there were pop songs like Bridge Over Troubled Water and older ones including If I Ruled the World. We loved the timeless Old Man River which made good use of the bass section. There was a beautiful anthem about Carrick town written for them by a local professional musician (a young lady but sorry, no memory of her name) which was very catchy and had lovely echoes of a Chris Wood English folk song (Sing, John Ball and tell it to them all. Long live the day that is dawning. And I'll crow like a cock, I'll carol like a lark. For the life that is coming in the morning). There was a whole section out of the musical-du-jour Les Miserables which I must admit is not a favourite, but they were all well done and I did like the march "Hear the People Sing". 

The audience loved it. The Irish do  have a passion for their music. One big solid old boy leaning on 'our' font as if it was the local bar had tears in his eyes as a youthful female soloist sang a Puccini piece. The applause was loud after each song and massive at the end. The final song was The Easter Hymn and by then it was approaching 11 pm so I will admit we slipped out at that stage, sprinting for the car rather than be caught in traffic. If there was an encore, then we missed it, but the orange MC lady did say "Safe Home" so we think not. So that was that - home by midnight to a nice welcome from the dogs, a warming shot of whisky and a coffee.

So, Thank You very much for thinking of us, Anna and obtaining tickets. We had a lovely evening and you were all brilliant. Thank you, too, Keith Nolan Photography who has granted me permission to use these pictures. 


Matt Care said...

If you are a Facebooker, you can see pics of this event by seeking out the page called Keith Nolan Photography (Artist). I am asking for permission to borrow a few of these.

Matt Care said...

Permission now granted.

Vendor Anna said...

Hi Matt, Thanks for your write up on the concert. I've spread the word. Never know who might look in on you. I directed them to the Bit of culture link.