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June 2019
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2005-04-20 Dunmore

reviewed by Beate


St. Nicholas Church in Dunmore is a rather modern building, simple in its architecture, but bright and friendly. I was not too sure about the atmosphere at first, but with the beautiful flower arrangements all over the place, and candles lit everywhere in the church, and then the tenor voices filling the air, I wouldn't have needed to worry.


When the doors opened at about 7.15 pm, there was already a long line of people in front of the church, and the pews filled up rapidly. It was obvious that the Musical Society of Dunmore had a lot of experience with arranging events like this - the concert was sold out and there were around 600 people, but it was all very well organised and people took their seats in no time.


Before the lads took the stage - or in that case, the altar - someone from the Dunmore parish gave a little speech, telling about the event's background. It was a fundraiser for the church building, sponsored by One Direct. The Managing Director of that company, Tim McCarthy, then spoke a few words himself, saying that his friendship with the Celtic Tenors went back a long way, and promising the audience a great night.


After that, it was time to start - and what an unusual beginning it was. The lads remained out of sight in the registry, and only "released" their voices into the church for "Ag Criost An Siol". Very "goose bumps all over". Only after the song did they come out, and launched right into "The Star Of The County Down", before introducing themselves. Now, I have seen them do this many times, but I never actually realised it can have competition character. Matthew clearly won that night's introduction - surely not with his hometown Kells Co. Meath, but with his mother's hometown Williamstown, which was literally just a few miles down the road. I can only assume that lots of people from Williamstown were there, because the town's name was greeted with lots of cheers! And it was repeated all over the concert, at one stage James even considered moving there just to be able to include the town's name in his future introduction. (I'd still say, keep Sligo, but I admit I am biased here.)


I did my best to keep a list of tracks - but as usual, I am not sure if I have really written every single one down - this may sound stupid but as everyone who tried it might have experienced too, sometimes I was just so engrossed in the music that I completely forgot about the writing. Anyway, here's the list I have of the first half:


Wild Rover
The Town I Loved So Well
The Contender
Quiet Land Of Erin (Deirdre, in Gaelic)
Ave Maria (Deirdre and the lads)
"that Italian operetta piece" (also Deirdre and the lads and I trust some day I will learn what it is called)
Non Siamo Isole


They had introduced "Non Siamo Isole" as a song especially composed for them, and also said it was the first time for them to sing it in Ireland. So they sure had raised some expectations! - And they met every single one. What can I say, before the last note had faded, there was a tremendous response from the audience! Needless to say, I assume, that it was well-deserved too!


"Dublinia" wrapped up the first part, and did so with lots of laughter. You know how the audience is supposed to clap twice right after the first line of the song? They did not, or rather, only a few people did, which was not good enough for Niall, who stopped immediately and demanded this get better in the second try. It did, but just a little - still not good enough for Mr. Morris. To cut a long story short, they started the song four times until he was finally satisfied with the clapping and the response.


During the break, there was a short performance from Ray Larsson - Ray is from Indiana, but takes great interest in Irish music, and he played two pieces for the audience before the lads came back out.


The track list for the second half was:

I walk with God
O Sole Mio
Nella Fantasia
The Prayer
Whiskey In The Jar
You Raise Me Up
The Fields Of Athenry
Danny Boy
Remember Me
Phil the Fluter
Time To Say Goodbye (encore)


No I will not get into "Caruso" again here... by now everyone knows that I do have a weakness for that one. And as I have said after the Munich concert during the German tour, church surroundings and church acoustics are still adding to the fascination. Again, this song was met by a tremendous response. And as usual, it was combined with "O Sole Mio", which I think is a very good combination. It takes the tension that "Caruso" built up and converts it into a very relaxed and funny atmosphere full of laughter. Works every time and surely did work on Wednesday too, people just loved it.


I hadn't heard "You Raise Me Up" in a long time on stage - to be honest, I think I only heard it once last year at the Galway concert - but I sincerely hope the lads will leave it in their programme for a while now. It seems that versions of this song are springing up like mushrooms all around, however, they do not usually come in such a poignant and sincere way and the Celtic Tenors' version is just magnificent.


Much too soon, the concert was over - and the lads received their well-deserved standing ovations of course. Considering the number of people gathering for the meet and greet, they have also won many new fans in the west of Ireland last Wednesday. Most of them probably from what must be the secret capital of the west - Williamstown!