Amongst the audience were a number of the Ukrainian refugees who are now housed in the Cuisle Centre in Donamon.
Senator Eugene Murphy acted as MC for the night and welcomed everybody to the concert which was aptly titled ‘There are no strangers in this house’. He welcomed in particular the members of the Ukrainian community noting that they were the victims of “brutal aggression”.
During the earlier part of the show the audience were treated to a wide range of musical delights ranging from Elton John’s ‘Can You Feel the Love Tonight’ to Elvis Presley’s ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’.
Fr. Kevin Fallon, Parish Priest in Roscommon and a noted musician, entertained the crowd with a rousing selection of jigs and reels on the flute and a lovely rendition of his latest record ‘Sweet Philomena’ which is dedicated to his mother and which he wrote himself.
A highlight of the concert then followed with the participation of a number of Ukrainian artists. Krystyna, Rima, Ilbina and Ekele sang a number of songs which highlighted the rich musical diversity of the area and were presented in national costume which were warmly received by the audience.
Following that, there was a performance by Eimear Reynolds, who, along with her brother Andrew, are the musical directors of the choir.
Eimear is very highly regarded and this was borne out by her amazing performance. Eimear has recorded and performed all over Ireland as well as in Europe and the US.
The Solstice Choir were fortunate to have the legendary musician and ‘Man with the golden trumpet’ Johnny Carroll on the bill. His performance of ‘Amazing Grace’ – accompanied by the choir – was outstanding. He completed his musical extravaganza with a moving rendition of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ which, with the audience taking part, reverberated throughout every corner of the Church, demonstrating to our friends from Ukraine that we support them every step of the way.
The show concluded with everyone on the altar singing the Scott McMahon song ‘Happy Are We All Together’ led by choir member Frank Brennan.
James Hoban, the Chairperson of the Solstice Choir, thanked all those involved. He noted that the concert was the Solstice Choir saying thanks to the people “for being so giving and supportive to each other during lockdown and the pandemic crisis”. He added that people were “generous in time, money and help to the Ukrainian people”. He paid particular tribute to the volunteers and staff of the Cuisle centre in Donamon who had done everything in their power to make people feel welcome and give them a home away from home.
The concert was free but donations on the night went to the Ukrainian Red Cross. This appeal raised a fantastic €4,012.25 on the night.
The Summer Solstice Choir want to thank everyone who supported this event. Once again your generosity has ensured that there definitely are “no strangers in this house”.
*Photographs courtesy of Mary Egan and Ciaran Egan.
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