Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Monday, December 19, 2011

Enchanted Evening of Banner Major and Minor Choristors

Lismorahaun Singers
 Ennis was a hotspot of choral activity on Friday night 15th December. In Bindon Street, the Burren based Lismorahaun Singers  under director Archie Simpson were entertaining their sold out  house at a candlelit St Columba's Church. With the eminent accompanist, Roy Holmes  the 70 strong community choir presented a programme of all sorts of choral delights including seasonal carols. Presenting the young singers Marcus & Ben Escorsio and Katie O Donoghue, it was however the more mature Micheál Mulqueeney who stole the show in the second half with his solo slot in Lo! How a Rose by Renaissance composer, Praetorious.  Impressive as all of this was, it was not the biggest and best choral extravaganza on offer in the Clare county capital on Friday night. Something even bigger unfolded earlier that evening less than half a mile away on Station Road.

Snow Sprites photos from Clare People

 Band 2009
  In the Holy Family School on Station Road, the tale of the magical journey undertaken by Gerda (Grace Russell) to  rescue her best friend  Kay (Niall Walsh)  from the clutches of the Snow Queen (Amandine Severin)  avoiding the enchantments  of  the Flower  Witch (Claudia Ryan)  and others along the way with assistance from a  cast of literally hundreds of  characters including witches, princes & princesses, sprites, talking snowflakes, crows, flowers, snow children, dancing buns, robbers, talking  trees and reindeer  (whew!)was presented by Holy Family Senior School Productions . This was a superb production combining many elements and I loved every minute of it. There were strong performances by all the leads but more importantly every child had a role, quite a logistical feat but accomplished seemingly effortlessly by the director Jillian Bridge and her team of teachers and parents. I specially loved the ribbon dance, the bun dance and the tap dance all  coreographed by Olivia Cunningham  The costumes , make up and sets were fantastic loads of colour, sparkle and glitter to add to the fun. 

 The musical numbers were accompanied by an  assortment of live solo piano accompaniment by musical director, Jillian Bridge, backing tracks and best of all, a live orchestra made up of  30 + students and staff  under the direction of violinist, Hugh Connolly and flautist Eilis Faherty.  The young musicians did not have to forego the thrills of a stage appearance and  elves and snowflakes etc. drifted back to their spot in the band when their on stage duties were done. The predominant accordion section tutored by Sean O Grady worked very well in the accoustic of this hall. Matt Purcell did an excellent job on sound and every voice was audible but not ear piercing. The show running at hour and a quarter without an interval was well paced and  most entertaining .   The presentation finished with a Christmas medley with all the participants singing together and closing remarks from principal, Sarah Barnes .   Requiring two sides of  close printed A4 to list all the performers this was a truly marvelous, inclusive, musical and educational endeavour. What wonderful memories these children will take with them from the experience and  no doubt many of them will fill the ranks of community groups like the Lismorahaun Singers who also  performed in Ennis this evening and continue to sing and entertain their communities in the years to come. Bravo tutti!

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