By Jimmy Hoban
Solstice Choir PRO
The Roscommon Solstice Choir’s 10th Anniversary Concert took place in the Sacred Heart Church, Roscommon on Friday, November 3rd, and was a resounding success. Playing to a full house, the choir and a host of guest stars gave a wonderful night of entertainment and brought much joy and happiness to a very appreciative audience.
This community choir, which was formed in 2013, continues to go from strength to strength and saw this concert as an opportunity to thank everyone who has been instrumental in their success and supported them over the years.
The audience was treated to a musical extravaganza and some showband nostalgia. Charlie McGettigan opened the show with a wonderful medley of songs, including ‘The Feet of the Dancer’, and was followed by Fr Kevin Fallon (Parish Priest of Roscommon), who is a noted musician and singer.
Frankie McDonald of Joe Dolan and the Drifters fame brought us back in time to the ‘Ballroom of Romance’ days. A great trumpet sound and medley of well-known showband classics had the audience toe-tapping and clapping hands at the same time.
After the interval, it was the turn of Paul Healy, Editor of the Roscommon People. Paul delivered a wonderful oration accompanied by a video on the pride and spirit of Roscommon people and what it means to be from County Roscommon.
Johnny Johnson performed ‘Land of the O’Connor’. This has become a well-known Roscommon anthem and the audience joined in with gusto.
Dave Lawlor, who is credited with the revival of the showbands in the 1990s, gave a wonderful performance of classics like ‘You Raise Me Up’ and the Dean Martin hit ‘That’s Amore’.
The evening was rounded off with Johnny Carroll, who this year is celebrating 66 years in showbusiness. He has recorded ‘Whispering Hope’ with the choir for the Galway Hospice and we were treated to the sight of the audience on their feet, waving their ‘lit up’ phones while singing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’.
The choir, as well as performing some great individual numbers, provided the vocal backing for the guests throughout. A particular highlight of the night was the singing of Ave Maria and Nella Fantasia by the choir’s musical director Eimear Reynolds, who is recognised internationally as a most beautiful singer and has performed on many world stages. Both Eimear and her brother Andrew have been the musical directors and guiding lights of the choir over the ten years.
Eugene Murphy has been MC for the choir since its inception and he kept the show going seamlessly from beginning to end.
John F Hanley (Chairperson of Roscommon Solstice Choir) noted that the choir had come a long way since its foundation in 2013 and complimented Marie Gillooly on her foresight in establishing it. He particularly thanked Andrew and Eimear Reynolds for their dedication and professionalism, Fr Kevin Fallon, and all the guests, the musicians, and the backstage crew. He wished to compliment everyone who had played a part in organising what he described as “a truly iconic night”.
A raffle was also organised on the night, with the proceeds going to the Church Restoration Fund.
The choir moves on from here with a series of events in store for Christmas. Four concerts are scheduled to take place as part of their winter programme: on December 3rd in St Patrick’s Church, Glenamaddy, on December 8th in St Colman’s Church, Claremorris, on December 10th in St Patrick’s Church, Knockcroghery, and on December 17th in Breffni Arms Hotel in Arva (Cavan). Also, on December 7th, the choir has been invited to sing at the turning on of the lights at Leinster House.
The choir wish to extend a big thank you to everyone who has given them a wonderful ten years. They say it’s been an absolute pleasure and they look forward with renewed confidence and enthusiasm to the years ahead.