What a night!!!
To an appreciative audience of approximately 1,200 music lovers, a host of Ireland's singers and instrumentalists braved the dark of December to light a candle for some of the poorest people in the world.
The Gala Concert, brainchild of Nás na Rí Singers musical director Áine Mulvey was months in the planning and every ounce of preparation and planning showed in the flawless execution of a glorious and complicated concert, involving over 200 singers and musicians, many of them children.
Nás na Rí Singers opened and closed the concert, with traditional and modern carols and Christmas songs accompanied by Judith Gannon on piano, Cillian Long (organ) Andreja Malir (concert harp) Odhrán Ó'Casaide (violin) and with the vocal talents of Sibéal ní Chasaide (sean nós soprano) and Simon Morgan (tenor) and the heart-wrenching voice of young chorister Adam Coates (Palestrina Choir).
And that's only a fraction of the talent who freely lent their voices and time to this magnificent cause. There was close harmony singing by the Keynotes, who nearly brought the house down, Lisa Lambe's glorious rendition of Joni Mitchell's "River", haunting performances from Sibéal and her father Odhrán, and cousin Matthew Ó'Casaide on uileann pipes, performing sean nós songs and laments.
A special welcome awaited Fr Brian D'Arcy, who first rose to nationwide prominence as the public face of Mount Argus, almost four decades ago, when he spearheaded a massive fund raising appeal to restore the dilapidated building to the magnificent condition it is in today. He was delighted to be reunited with many of his old parishioners. As MC Joe Duffy said, there was particular irony to Fr D'Arcy standing in Mount Argus while the voices of the combined choirs of Nás na Rí and the Mount Sackville Girls' School Junior and Senior Choirs tried to blow the roof off! Fr D'arcy read Patrick Kavanagh's beautiful poem, commonly known as "My father played the melodeon" to mark fifty years since the poet's death.
We await with interest a final reckoning of the many thousands of euro raised by the audience on behalf of Trócaire, but meanwhile, if you missed this glorious event, you have still plenty of time to plan to attend our second concert on behalf of Trócaire, at 8pm Friday 15th December in the church of Our Lady and St David, Naas. Tickets are available at Barker and Jones, the Parish Centre and from choir members. The church is the largest venue in Naas, and tickets will also be available at the door, if necessary. Come along for a Very Messiah Christmas, with all the big, seasonal choruses from Handel's Messiah as well as a host of other music.