Mezzo-soprano Anne Marie Gibbons

Top Mayo artists go online for concert for SVP

NORMALLY at this time of year, mezzo-soprano Anne Marie Gibbons is busy finalising her Festive Harmony Concert at Westport Town Hall Theatre, which has been held annually since December 2016.

Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, Anne Marie is unable to bring her concert to the live stage, but not wanting to be out-witted by Covid 19 - this lady had a brainwave!

While theatres cannot stage events for a live audience under current restrictions it is possible to record a performance in a controlled, safe environment at the Westport venue for future streaming to an online audience.

The result is an hour long collaborative concert of top quality Mayo-based artists/performers recorded on the stage of Westport Town Hall Theatre as a fundraiser for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVP).

It will be streamed online on Friday, December 18, at 8 p.m. and will be available to view all over the Christmas period.

While the concert itself will be free to watch online, viewers will be invited to consider making a donation to what is the largest voluntary charitable organisation in the country.

Harpist Laoise Kelly Photographer: Dominique Schreckling

The absolute stellar line up for this very special concert includes Des Cafferkey, CODA, The Cresham Academy of Dancing, Schola Cantorum Basilicae (Knock), Irish novelist and short-story writer Mike McCormack, harpist Laoise Kelly and Matt Molloy of The Chieftains, who will all perform a socially distanced segment as part of this collaborative concert with Covid health and safety controls in place and managed by Westport Town Hall Theatre. Anne Marie herself will also perform.

The concert will run for approximately one hour and promises to delight the virtual audience, with all performers as well as the venue giving of their time voluntarily for this great cause.

The SVP focus is on a practical approach to dealing with poverty, alleviating its effects on individuals and families through working primarily in person-to-person contact by a unique system of family visitation and seeking to achieve social justice and equality of opportunity for all citizens.

The society loves to receive donations of food and toys but the changes brought on by the coronavirus mean that is not possible this year. Their helpline rings every day with a variety of requests for help – those with bare cupboards, families struggling with heating their homes and those who need a friendly ear to listen.

They will receive over 50,000 requests nationally for help this winter.

The concert will go live at 8 p.m. on Friday, December 18, and will be available to view via Westport Town Hall Theatre's Youtube channel, social media and website all over the Christmas.

Full details are on https://www.westporttheatre.com/. Please note there are also donation envelopes available in the foyer of Westport Town Hall, St. Mary’s Church and other outlets around the town of Westport.

All money donated will go to the local St. Vincent De Paul.

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