MC for the night was, as on many other occasions in the past, the inimitable Tommy Marren of Mid-West Radio. Tommy invited the choir on to the stage and proceeded to introduce the choir director, Deirdre Lee and accompanist, Rebecca Cresham. Nerves were settled with rousing renditions of “Stout Hearted Men”, the beautiful “Shenandoah” and “Blue Moon”. Aaron Cawley of Crossmolina, an excellent tenor, who, though local, has sung all over Europe and the States, was introduced to the audience and proceeded to sing “Some Enchanted Evening” and “Time to Say Goodbye” to great applause. He was excellently accompanied by Deirdre Lee, MMVC director. who also accompanied Mary O’Sullivan later.
It is a mark of the respect that these professional soloists have for Deirdre’s keyboard talents that they are very happy to have her accompany them. The choir followed Aaron with the very first performance of “Misty Mayo” where the melody of “Hear My Song” had new lyrics added by Michael Garvey and the song was then arranged for MMVC by Joseph Garvey. As pointed out by Tommy Marren, this could become an anthem for Mayo people around the world in years to come.
The greatest applause on the night had to be for the next song, “Bridge Over Troubled Water” which was sung by James Garvey of MMVC, accompanied by his brother Joseph Garvey on the keyboards and backed by MMVC. The response to James’ performance was enthusiastic and thoroughly deserved as the Garvey Brothers are exceptionally talented musicians and singers and MMVC is delighted that they are happy to rehearse and sing with the choir.
Mary O’Sullivan, from Dublin, was then introduced to the audience. This was Mary’s first time to perform in Mayo but with her powerful, controlled soprano voice she needn’t have worried as the people of Mayo took her to their hearts. Mary sang “The Laughing Song” and “O Mio Babbino” to very appreciative applause. To take the concert to the break and the inevitable raffle “Alexander’s Ragtime Band” was then sung by MMVC.Over the years MMVC members have discovered (but not in any empirical scientific way!) that a true barometer of whether a concert is going down well emerges in the audience’s willingness or otherwise to purchase raffle tickets! If that theory is correct, then the show was going exceptionally well, as it was very difficult to keep up with the demand on the night. With prizes sponsored by T-Rex Clothing, Mulroys Seasons Restaurant and Castlebar Credit Union the demand was phenomenal and, as they mingled, the choir members received many very complimentary comments on the night’s entertainment.
Highlights of the second half of the concert including “La Donna É Mobile” from Rigoletto sung by Aaron Cawley, “Till There Was You” sung by Mary O’Sullivan and both together singing “People Will Say We’re in Love” with full dramatic interpretation of the lyrics! James and Joseph Garvey were joined by Colin Kneafsey (also a member of MMVC) to bring everyone right back to the American mid-west with “Tumblin’ Tumbleweeds” sung in three part harmony. From MMVC the highlights of the second half would have to be “Anthem” from Chess, now a firm favourite with all choir members and “Last of the Summer Wine”, both songs new to the choir this year.At the end of the night, Tony McNulty, MMVC Chairman, spoke eloquently thanking everyone involved with the night before floral presentations were made to Ann, Deirdre and Rebecca. The final song was the rousing “When the Saints Go Marching In” which brought the audience to their feet. Naturally, this led to an encore for which Mary and Aaron joined the choir with the Liverpool FC anthem, “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” very appropriate on the weekend that the FA remembered the many Liverpool supporters who died tragically twenty-five years ago at Hillsborough. Everyone involved with the night was buzzing afterwards in the Welcome Inn bar where refreshments were served. Feedback from audience members, some who had attended MMVC concerts previously and others attending for the first time, was universally very positive. Interestingly, for those who couldn’t attend on the night, the choir’s next outing is coming up very shortly as on Thursday May 15th they will participate in the opening of the brilliant Mayo International Choral Festival, in the Holy Trinity Church, Westport. They follow this quickly with participation in the Choral Festival Male Voice Choir category on Saturday morning. We wish them every good luck with that competition.