Chester Male Voice Choir: 80th Anniversary 1941 - 2021

Ireland 2015

Ireland 2015

CITY OF CHESTER MALE VOICE CHOIR. CONCERT IN IRELAND
In order that the choir was able to continue our concert performances around the world and stand firm by our motto “We sing to serve”, we recently returned from a five day tour of Ireland.
After an early start, leaving from Chester, on 26th October and a coach ride to our departing port in Holyhead, we were based in Waterford. After a rather long (due to ferry delays) journey to the emerald Isle, 71 of us in total were delighted when we arrived at Dooley’s Hotel in the centre of the town, a beautiful hotel with everything we could wish for, including lovely food, comfortable rooms and very pleasing and professional staff. We spent our first evening here with a very tasty evening meal and a few drinks in the bar. The trip had been in the planning for much of the previous 12 months and was to culminate in a grand concert in Kilkenny.
Our first full day, was for some spent in Waterford town, where the delights of many attractions and of course the famous Waterford Crystal Shop were explored. For others, an excursion was arranged to Kilkenny, where, once more shopping, sightseeing and enjoying the eateries and hostelries, ensued. After a full day of full bellies and empty wallets, we returned to our hotel for an evening of provided entertainment. This was a chance for the choir to get to know the locals and share a pleasant evening over drinks and dinner. We were asked to provide a mini concert for those staying in the hotel on this evening, which of course we were delighted to agree to. A 30 minute performance, singing some of our favourite numbers was performed to those gathered and it seemed to be well appreciated and proved to be an insight into the choir’s prowess for some of the newer guests joining us on this trip. For the non-stayers, off to bed for an early start in the morning.
An excursion to the “Titanic Experience Cobh” and a short visit to Cork in the afternoon was arranged for the second full day and was taken up by most of our group. After a slight problem with the driver locating the correct attraction, we had a great morning exploring this wonderful memorial to the 2.5 million people who emigrated to escape poverty and starvation during the potato famine. Following our visit, we went on to Cork for some more shopping and Irish hospitality. After dinner, back at the hotel, we were invited by the hotel management to a very interesting Irish coffee making demonstration, which nearly all of the group were able to attend. We were delighted, when after the demonstration (learning of which was confirmed by a re-run demonstration given by Sophie, Joe’s lovely girlfriend, keep hold of her Joe !!), we were all given a freshly made Irish coffee, all 60 odd of us, very generous. Off to bed for most and a little sing song in the bar for others.
Up bright and early for most, on Concert day ! especially for those few that took advantage of the ½ day excursion to the “Dunbrody Famine Ship Experience”, one of the premier tourist attractions in the south east of Ireland, a reproduction of an authentic 1840s emigrant vessel, this trip included a guided tour, costumed performers and themed exhibitions. For the rest, another chance to look around Waterford before preparing for the evenings “big event”.
All away by late afternoon, 2 coaches, 71 in total with 29 singing members of our choir, suitably fed, watered, suited and booted. On our way to Kilkenny to sing in the beautiful and historic St Canice’s Cathedral. The concert commenced at around 7.30 pm and was planned to finish at 10 pm but that was never going to happen when we considered the number of singing contributors on the bill. The event was organised by the Castlecomer MVC based in Kilkenny and was in aid of the Thomas Hayes Trust Fund, which is a suicide prevention charity. During the evening the victim of a double family suicide gave a very moving presentation which brought the importance of our efforts into sharp focus.
The Cathedral was full and the program was packed with entertainers, ranging from male voice choirs to solo artists, to vocal groups and to some wonderful singing from children’s choirs, oh and the church’s “black cat” thrown in for good measure…not literally. This was a spectacular event and our singing was much praised by others and it was clear that we all felt that we had performed one of the best concerts for some time, very fitting considering the importance of the evening.
After a good night’s sleep and at breakfast, the very funny “arrest” of Joe, for his underage drinking, by a few “coppers” led by George Thorogoods hilarious protestations, we were once more back on the coaches and heading for home. After another ferry delay, we all arrived back in Chester for about 8.00pm, exhausted but ready for our next concert performance on the very NEXT evening !
RW

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