Members of Mayo Concert Orchestra, under the direction of Kathy Fahey, practising at Music West HQ in Castlebar for their upcoming events

Very busy schedule ahead for Mayo Concert Orchestra

Mayo Concert Orchestra is set to perform at three different events between now and the end of 2022 - making for a very busy schedule for all the musicians and their leader.

The first event is the Tuam Babies Commemoration taking place on Saturday, November 12, at 7 p.m. at Lough Lannagh - which Mayo Concert Orchestra will perform at along with the Chapel Street Gospel Choir - taking place in the Lough Lannagh Car Park.

Musical Director Kathy Fahey explains: "This is a memorial service organised by Valerie Jennings for all the 796 lives of the missing babies in Tuam whose bodies were never recovered - and will last about an hour.

"The orchestra will play and the choir sing as the memory of each child is read out by participating groups of people who will walk around the lake while Catherine Corless will hold a lantern.

"It will include emotive spiritual music that is very appropriate and sensitive to the service - including, 'It is well with my Soul', some pieces from the Lion King, and some Sean Keane songs from his Gratitude album."

This is a free event and all are welcome.

Mayo Concert Orchestra is also set to stage a very ambitious take on Messiah - at Saint Patrick's Catholic Church in Newport on Saturday, November 26, at 7 p.m., as part of Newport 300.

Kathy added: "This is coming two years later than planned as it was cancelled in 2020 due to covid. Choral Symphony West - which consists of Mayo concert orchestra and Vocalessence Ladies Choir, is coming together to play this version of Handel’s Messiah - in an arrangement for higher voices, which is quite unusual.

"We actually commissioned 'Worthy is the lamb' and 'Amen' specifically for treble voices.

"Our soloists on the night are Pauline Graham, soprano; Anna-Louise Costello, mezzo soprano and David Lynn, tenor, with Michael Quinn as bass continuo. It will be approximately a 90-minute performance of pure classical aria."

See for tickets.

Finally, Christmas will be celebrated in style at the upcoming 'Silver Belles' concert on Friday December 9, in Claremorris Town Hall Theatre - which is a collaboration between Mayo Concert Orchestra and local female singing trio - One Voice - which consists of Elaine McEvilly, Lorraine McCoy and Siobhan Sheil.

This festive night of entertainment will include a great line-up of Christmas classics, jazz, pop, and traditional Christmas tunes - including 'Have yourself a merry little Christmas, Oh Holy Night, Fairytale of New York, Rock around the Christmas Tree, White Christmas and of course not forgetting the theme tune, Silver Belles.

The 8 p.m. concert will be preceded by a mulled wine and mince pie reception. Tickets are available on the Claremorris Town Hall website.

Paying tribute to orchestra members, Kathy Fahey said: "The orchestra is certainly working very hard. We’ve lost two years of rehearsal time so are concentrating on getting back to where we were before we left off. We’re very busy working on three concerts all within a few weeks of each other, it really stretches the orchestra and everybody is putting extra time into it themselves."

She noted that MCO would welcome new string players with Grade VII certification upwards, especially violin players, adding: "The orchestra is very dedicated and hard-working, it is a huge commitment for members."

The composer of the highly acclaimed Fainne Oir, which was played by the orchestra on Broadway in 2019, reveals she is now composing a new work, based on the Passion play and looking at what it is for a mother to lose a child. "This is a tribute to my own mother and every woman who had a miscarriage or lost a child", said Kathy, who is Musical Director of MCO, the Chapel Street Gospel Choir and Vocalessence - and most recently, became Musical Director for the highly acclaimed Gardiner Street Gospel Choir in Dublin - travelling up and down once a week. "It’s all part of a day’s work and I like to do more", quipped the multi-talented musical lady from Belcarra.