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2006-12-06 In concert

Article about the Ballina concert
from the Western People Newspaper

 

HARMONY was not entirely absent from the Mayo scene with the unusual setting of Ballina Cathedral for the concert given by the Celtic Tenors featured with Ballina soprano Donna Malone. With tickets priced at 30 Euros each out of which the Cathdral fund received 8, it was estimated that over 1,200 enthusiasts filled the pews on the Friday night for a well-honed performance following the American tour by the singers with the brilliant concert pianist David Munro as Musical Director.

 

The main altar was the stage from which the concert was delivered with a programme that interspaced "Wild Rover", "You Raise Me Up", "Will Ye Go Lassie Go?", "Oh. My Beloved Father", "Humming Chorus" from Madam Butterfly, "Nessum Dorma", "Danny Boy", "Shenan-doah", excerpts from "Les Misearables", etc.

It was a popular programme of favourites which had the huge audience applauding to such an extent as to recall Malcolm Sargent chiding the female chorus of "For Unto Us A Child Is Born" with the remark: "Just a Little More Reverence/and Not So Much Astonishment!".

The singers delighted the audience with a tribute to Patsy, the nice lady who plays the organ and to Lavinia Gilmartin, Director of the St Cecilia's School of Song whose vocalists closed off the final section of the concert.

It was a memorable night for Ballina soprano, Donna Malone, a member of the Cathedral Choir and Rejoice Choir whose reputation led to her selection for the American tour with Mathew Gilsenan, James Nelson and Daryl Simpson. She is now studying for her Bachelor of Music (Hons.) degree with a talent that matches any of the trio who accompanied her to Ballina.

The choice of the Cathedral for the concert was dictated by the lack of any other venue in Ballina for such an occasion with the abandonment of the former Estoria Cinema.

Some of the selections by the Celtic Tenors ("In the Gloaming", "Danny Boy") brought back some nostalgic memories of the days when the Coen Bros, Paddy and Bob, with Jim MacHale and myself augmented service on the Cathedral Choir with an amateur quartette before time took its toll. Those were the Pantomime days with Jack MacHale, George Conboy Jim Garvey, Jim Ryan, Fr Paddy Gallagher and Fr Joe Harte when we did our best for the Ballina musical tradition far from the professional standards of the Celtic Tenors today.