Tuesday night’s Christmas Concert at the Church of Saints Stephen and John here in Castleisland proved one of the outstanding events of the year.
Gathering support from this and its neighbouring parishes, that support packed the provided seating areas from the altar all the way down to the door and up to the ordinary day choir balcony.
RTÉ TV and Radio Mass
I had two pieces on my hymn wish list as I made my way down to the event on the evening. One was the Gaudette and the other was In the Bleak Mid Winter. I got both within minutes of parish council chairman, Jack Shanahan letting the night loose at 8pm – and both from our own Castleisland Parish Choir.
The growing choir was performing out of its collective skin on its last big, local event before settling down to a season of rehearsals ahead of their RTE One TV and Radio One live performance in Dublin on February 11th 2018.
Bounded onto the Altar
There was a sense of anticipation as The Three Tenors: Derek Moloney, Dominic McGorian and Shane Morgan bounded onto the altar area from the sacristy.
They endeared themselves to their audience immediately.
And, maybe for the season that’s in it, they gave it holly for their allotted time. And they got it back with berries on.
You could forgive yourself for believing that these men were much more than mere mortals. It was like the songs came like peals of tuneful thunder from wisps of clouds.
They’re Not Big Men
“And they’re not big men,” said one local man as he wondered aloud at what he was hearing.
Maybe it was their surroundings. They were backed by two magnificent musicians in Sinead Murphy on piano and Karen Hickey on violin.
This was all against a backdrop of huge, marble angels, plaster-cast statues of the ancient greats as a mosaic of the Lamb of God looking down on them from on high.
Strings of great songs and medleys of many others followed until well after the allotted 10pm ‘closing time’ – at which they got a well earned standing ovation from their mixed age audience of close on 600.
After a heavy schedule of engagements for the remaining days of this year and for early in 2018, they will be back down this way for a concert at The Brehon Hotel in Killarney on February 3rd.
It was a night of great achievement and satisfaction for Monsignor Dan O’Riordan and his parish council and one of great enjoyment for those who attended.
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