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May 2020
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2010-08-15 a message from James

Well, just a few days now and we'll see some of you in the Windy City, and then the following day in Milwaukee...and we are looking forward to it all, and to seeing you all.

You asked about MDs and how they are chosen? The Irish music scene is fairly small, but I think we decided after Colm Henry that it's great to get someone young, energetic, and hungry for work... and not someone perhaps older and more set in their ways and less willing to change. Because for our group as you all know we don't just sing one style. It's kinda weird for someone coming in! They need to be an accomplished classical pianist, but also have VERY varied musical tastes. And so when Martin Quinn told us about Colm (Rogan) who has just graduated (in fact he graduates on September 8th!!), and he has done a Classical Music degree, but loves all types of music...he sounded great. And he wants to work...! But of course after that he has to be able to accompany, to follow singers, be instinctive, to be musical, to be able to conduct a small orchestra, to feel comfortable in front of a large orchestra, to feel comfortable to tell singers if they are out of tune at times, to give notes... and to be a team player. Not much really. And we don't really want someone who perhaps has drug offences, or is a drug dealer, or a drug addict.

My goodness Miss surpassed even your own records with that review... and I did read it through...mainly to check for libel of course (only joking!!). It was interesting to see what you picked up on. I came across as quite boring didn't I? (Hmmmm) I need to do something about that. If you saw me after MANY "Long Island Iced Teas" on Friday may have been a different review methinks. But that is a very rare occasion...mostly I drink Water and black coffee, sometimes Diet Coke, or Ginger Beer...but if a Prosecco or two or nine are slipped past becomes more interesting...but if you want James to really show his 'party side' a "Long Island Iced Tea" or seven will help... But according to your summary from last year's Dublin Fest...I am kinda dull. Ah well... some people like me...I think...

There will be more Irish dates at Christmas...probably Galway, and possibly Limerick and Cork...though they are less definite this year. But of course I (or Celestine) will add the dates as they come.

With regards the old photos of Sligo...there were many good photographers at the time...including my Great Grandfather and Great Granduncle (I think anyway) and others who took many photos locally, and they are in books, and quite available...I'd LOVE to get many more. The structures are fairly unchanged...our shop is no longer "Nelsons" closed in the 1980s. It became a Shoe Shop. But now something else ... a clothes shop I think... but the structures remain unchanged for the most part.

Thank you for ALL your comments (and compliments) re Kenya and the kids etc. And thanks to Rianne for adding the videos (of course I added a few also). The video quality is poor enough, but in Rianne's at least the sound is pretty you get the idea...and perhaps it's a good experiment...because I always believe you can hear happiness in the human voice... so when their faces are less clear it makes you listen more... and hopefully the happiness and enthusiasm comes across. It is actually known as a smile in the voice (a singing technique even!). Please continue to add comments... several could do with comments made to them (if you have time). I think I mentioned to you about Chico (who does the actions with Kevin Kipkoech). Chico is actually 9 years old, but looks 3 or 4, because she was malnourished severely from a baby. Her Mother eventually died last year and she was taken in to Cheryl's full-time.

Robin, and proud of your achievements. It is not a small thing you did. It is a HUGE thing. And not only have we all seen what you did...but those kids will remember the hugeness of your gesture in coming ALL the way to their country to offer help to them. So be proud of yourselves...VERY proud. And Thank You sincerely for it. Basil said you were GREAT workers by the way. Sorry you were sick in Dublin...sometimes the Malarone tablets have that effect..I'm pretty sure it was those tablets. The pics were great...yours and also the link you sent...REALLY good. Doesn't it all seem a world away now? But it hits you from time to time....the kid's faces, the smells from Kibera, the squalour, and much more. Anyway...pat yourselves on the back - BIG TIME!

And so back to why we were out of contact, offline, and drinking "Long Island Iced Teas" this week... we were on a cruise! (We have another one from September 1st from Barcelona to Turkey!). We don't really do cruises anymore (I'd love to do 2 or 3 a year), and our Management don't encourage them, as they take us away from touring work, and make us out of contact, and give us little holidays! Our last cruise I think was perhaps 6 or 7 years ago... but we still get calls to do them, and when this one fit in between our little Wexford date and Chicago...and we were free...we jumped at it. And it was lovely...though kinda weird to sail from Dublin to Dover around John O' Groats! We were on the Ocean Princess, and did two 45 minute sets on one night, and a little question-and-answer session. And people seemed to REALLY enjoy it...a lot. And we always like when that happens. But on the last night everyone was buying us drinks...and it's kinda rude to refuse isn't it - my Mum always said so... to say thank you... so that's where the "Long Island Iced Tea" comes in... they are tasty! But kinda lethal...have a look at what they contain... Vodka, Gin, Tequila, Rum, Triple Sec, and a splash of coke, with ice! (Yes that all goes into the one glass, and it tastes good). But maybe I had one or six too many on Friday...See Mary I can party?

Love to each and every one of you!