24 Jan 2022

Meehan's Muses: Opera in Mountcharles

Without leaving the room we were transported on a worldwide journey.

Meehan's Muses: Opera in Mountcharles

Let’s be honest, it is far from listening to opera that I was reared. I would rather have a fig roll than a “Figaro Figaro”. I could care less about the ‘Barber of Seville’ or ‘Three Little Maids from School’.

But over the last six years I have attended ‘Songs for a Summer Evening’ in the grounds of Salthill House, Mountcharles, at times never fully understanding the Italian or other language and lyrics. Why do I attend?

Because the performers are all locals and it always amazes me how they master the non-English lyrics in such a short space of time. Last Friday/Saturday was no exception, as over eighty people each evening listened intently to local singers, ‘The Bluestack Chorale’, Baritone Paul Martin, Soprano Deborah Cunningham and young pianist Evan McGarrigle. For almost two hours without leaving the room we were transported on a worldwide journey.

From “Give Me That Old Razzle Dazzle” from the musical ‘Chicago’, then straight to Germany, Russia, Italy, where mystery, romance and foul deeds were committed with every aria and chorus.

This is the tenth year of ‘Songs For A Summer Evening’ and it would be remiss of me not to mention the main drivers voluntarily working for months behind this now very successful annual two-day event, Mountcharles resident Deborah Cunningham, supported by husband Gerry.

The Supermarket Angel

Apologies for taking this letter from last year’s national newspaper. Its contents, I am sure many elderly, disabled or troubled can associate with.

“On Tuesday 25th November in a Tesco store I was doing my shopping for the first time since my beloved wife of 65 years passed away last month. It was her month’s mind so this day in particular was tough. As I was at the self service ‘check out’ I seemed to be struggling and not too sure on how it worked, since my wife always did all the shopping. I felt a kind hand on my shoulder and as I turned around there was the most beautiful young girl, blonde hair, wearing all black, probably in her early 20’s.

She said she was on her lunch break that she was in no rush and did I need a hand with my shopping and I told her I would be most grateful. She did all my shopping and put it into bags for me. It seems like a small gesture but it made my day and I just want to find and thank her.

She didn’t know what a devastating time or what I have been going through on that day and she wanted to help a 94-year-old man just out of the goodness of her heart and wasn’t looking for anything in return.

People like her need to be recognised, we need more like her in this world, people who gladly take time out of their day to help people, which can make that person’s day.

This letter also might encourage other people. If they see someone struggling just go over and help. It can really make that elderly, disabled or troubled person’s day!

An Evening of Song

Who remembers the Capitol Showband of the 1960/70s? In the 1960s there were 700 showbands and 400 dry dancehalls in Ireland.

The ‘Top Two’ showbands, ‘Brendan Bowyer and The Royal’ and ‘Butch Moore and The Capitol’. The latter featured two Donegal musicians, Eamon Monahan (Mountcharles) and Paul Sweeny (Dungloe).

On Sunday, 6th August, at 8pm in the Garden Room of Salthill House Mountcharles, you can again relive memories of days past with pianist Eamon Monahan and friends who feature an evening of nostalgia with well-known melodies. If you are contemplating attending this Sunday, please be early as the ‘Garden Room’ seating numbers are very limited.

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