Connect with us

News

There’s no business like show business!

Published

on

0248221_Marie_Meets_KMS_3.jpg

This coming March will be their 38th production and members of Killarney Musical Society (KMS) are excited to get back to what they love most - being on stage.

Their colourful variety show 'A Musical Journey' takes place on March 7, 8 and 9 in the INEC and it couldn't come faster!

KMS members have unanimously counted their blessings to have somewhat cheated COVID as their last production 'Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat' took place in February 2020 - a month before the world was first locked down.

Long standing member, Phil Spillane confirmed that in the meantime, the lock had rusted over and she had her son-in-law Joe O’Shea ‘have at it’ with an angle grinder so the next step was to tackle the container's contents in preparation for this year's production.

Bringing the sound of melodious music and dance to the community with almost 120 years combined, I was eager to chat to the KMS members Derek O’Leary, Phil Spillane, Ilona McCubbery and Brid Griffin O’Callaghan.

Phil Spillane has dedicated 35 of those years to Killarney Musical Society.

Clearly ‘there’s no business like show business’ for you Phil - 'Let's start from the very beginning'......

Founding member Dr Dick Shanahan (RIP) from Farranfore began the Society together with many others, including active founding member Pam Brosnan in 1985. I was a member by 1989 and my first show was 'The Show Boat' at the Árás Pádraig. Music and dance is in the genes as my aunts were music teachers and held many shows in Belfast. I was a member of Marian Arts Society, Dublin as a child and would you believe Stella O’Shea’s mother, Mrs Moore, was my dance teacher and took us the length and breath of the country dancing for the public. Social media updates weren’t a thing back then so you can imagine my surprise as a receptionist at the Dunloe Hotel when Stella O’Shea disembarked the bus as a tour guide with her brother's company, Brian Moore Tours. Much to my delight, Stella remained in Killarney and together with Sorcha O’Connor (Choral Mistress) and working with Jack Brosnan, she is now the assistant to the director for choreography.

What was your favourite show to part take in Phil?

I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Anything Goes’ because it is filled with tap dancing which I loved. Afterwards, in 1992, I became a committee member, taking a back seat to shows, making a small appearance in the finale of our most recent show 'Joseph and the Technicolour Dream Coat'.

Reverting back to a giggle I noticed when Phil mentioned the shows at the Árás Pádraig, Derek O’Leary, who has been with the Society for 30 years now, was next up for questioning.

You must have some stories from your performances at the Áras Derek?

The expectations at the Áras were slightly lower than that of the INEC. Those were the days when we could pop to McSweeneys for a quick pint at half time. When we moved to the INEC in 2001 for the 'New Pirates of Penzance', we needed to become more like pros as we could be seen from all angles. There was no room for pranks! Some of the funnier moments at the Áras was when the entire set fell right in on top of the orchestra in 1991 for 'Belle of New York'. Sure what could you do? We had free rein at the Áras to act as we wished when our backs were turned to the audience for whatever reason. I will always remember my twin brother Conor, off the cuff, in the Temple scene of 'Jesus Christ Super Star' at the markets, where most of the cast were on stage selling various wears. With his back to the audience he passed from seller to seller with a credit card in hand asking if they would accept a card. Needless to say the uncontrollable laughter of the cast unknown to the audience had a domino effect across the stage. At the INEC there is nowhere to hide!

Blessed amongst women Derek, have you always had a leading role?

I have a distinct advantage being the token male since 1992. Like any club, KMS is my club and I thoroughly enjoy it. My favourite show to date was also produced by this year's director/choreographer Oliver Hurley, 'Me & My Girl'. It was full of comedy with great dialogue. The dancing was a stretch. I can do hands and I can do feet but the communication was lost when both had to coordinate. I just about got away with it. I am a contemporary tenor, not operatic, so the 'New Pirates of Penzance' challenged me hugely.

Ilona, how long have you been with KMS and what are your most memorable moments?

Before we go any further, Derek neglected to mention that he won us our first AIMS Award in 2003 for 'Annie Get Your Gun' which was a massive achievement for us, but to answer your question, I am a sucker for variety shows and this year will be our fourth. I like them because there are no main leading roles but many responsible roles making for inclusive opportunities in giving everyone a time to shine. From an audience point of view, everyone goes home with a favourite part. The buzz of being on stage is always memorable to me, but the one that stands out the most would have to be 'Les Miserables'. On stage as a group singing together, I cannot put it into words - the best feeling ever.

Last but not least, how are things going this year Bríd?

This my 25th year with KMS and the largest cast to date. There are 38 eight to 12-year-olds, 25 teenagers and in total a whopping 118 cast members. The children are a fantastic bunch and a credit to their families. These figures are without lighting, sound, orchestra, backstage, props, front of house staff etc. The coordination is full on but we are being well looked after at our rehearsal venue Ross Products by Cathleen Collins who keeps the cafe open throughout rehearsals. Our director/choreographer Oliver Hurley is hugely creative as is our fantastic musical director Jimmy Brockie.

Tickets are available from Ross Products during rehearsal times but can also be bought at the INEC on show dates; March 7, 8 and 9 at €26 standard, €21 Snr Citizen/Student and €74 for a family of two adults and two children. Group rates are available on request and also on Ticketmaster where the usual fees apply. Weekly updates of ‘A Musical Journey’ can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Advertisement

News

Pat Delaney Memorial Cup Golf Classic

St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble […]

Published

on

0279957_2024_Launch_Pat_Delaney_Cup.jpg

St Pats East Kerry are running their annual Pat Delaney Memorial Cup golf classic at the Ross Golf Club on Saturday July 6. The format is a 3 person scramble over ten holes and the entry fee is €120 per team. The entry fee will include a goody bag for each player and a cup of Tea/Coffee and scone when the round is completed. Tee times are available from 8am.

Killarney Credit Union is the main sponsor of the event, in recognition of Pat having been a highly respected and effective Chairman of the Credit Union. Pat was a Chairman and Vice President of St Pats East Kerry and he started the annual golf classic over ten years ago as a fundraiser for the Club. Known for his excellent organisation skills and a master salesman who enjoyed persuading the golfers of the Killarney area to take part in the event. He acted as master of ceremonies on the day, meeting and greeting every team prior to their games and to ensure that everyone had an enjoyable day.

On the morning of the golf classic, back in June 2018, Pat sadly passed away. His contribution to hurling and to St Pats demanded that his legacy be commemorated. Pat had also made a major contribution to the Killarney Credit Union at a time of major change in their business, leading the two organisation, St Pats and Killarney Credit Union to combine and rebrand the annual golf classic in Pat’s name.

Continue Reading

News

Civil War, a song and New York city

  A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song. On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican […]

Published

on

0280045_IMG2024060417070476.jpg

 

A series of random encounters has resulted in one of biggest atrocities of the Civil War being immortalised in a song.

On March 8, 1923, a group of Republican prisoners were taken from their temporary prison cells at the Great Southern Hotel and marched to a location near Countess Road.

Less than 24 hours after the more-documented Ballyseedy Massacre near Tralee, the five men named – Stephen Buckley, Tim Murphy, Daniel Donoghue, Jeremiah O’Donoghue and Tadgh Coffey –were killed by Free State troops with explosives and gunfire.

Fast forward over 100 years when local musician and song writer Donal Power was approached by Tadgh Buckley of Killarney Music School.
“He asked me if I would write a song about an incident with particular emphasis on a person who was his long-dead cousin. I told him I’d try and hoped he would be satisfied with the result,” explained Donal.
“He then gave me a copy of Tim Horgan’s book ‘The Stones Still Speak’, containing the story of Stephen Buckley murdered at the Countess Bridge which also contained a letter written by Stephen the night before his death in 1923, which didn’t come to light until six years later. Like many others I was aware of the massacre at Ballyseedy Cross but not the Countess Road, Killarney. So this was the project and the challenge!
“I spent a number of weeks writing a song about the incident. There is a lot of content in the story and I wanted to be true to the content of Stephen’s letter. I completed the song and sang it for him and others at a session where it appeared to make a positive impression. It’s an acoustic ballad which I accompany with guitar.”
But the story does not end there. A New York-based family, direct descendants of the murdered Stephen Buckley made contact with Power.
A man named Thomas Buckley from New York made contact with the local songwriter after hearing the song on Soundcloud.
Thomas explained: “My father Stephen Buckley was born in New York City in 1924. His father Michael Buckley,  named his first son, my dad, after his brother Stephen who was killed at the Countess Bridge in 1923. My older brother is also Stephen Buckley born in New York in

1954.”
Three members of the New York-based Buckley family, Thomas, Stephen and younger brother Timothy, were on a family holiday to Killarney earlier this month.

Power met them and was able to take the brothers to the site of the ambush were he learned that they are also related to Tadhg Buckley, the man who originally asked for the song to be written.

“We don’t know the exact relationship but it is very direct. The three brothers think Tadhg now lives where the murdered Stephen Buckley once lived,” added Power.

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

SONG LYRICS
KILLARNEY, NINETEEN-TWENTY-THREE
A CIVIL WAR ATROCITY
A MASSACRE, A SHAMEFUL EPISODE
FOUR SOLDIERS OF THE I.R.A.
BY FREE-STATE FORCES BLOWN AWAY
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

A SOLE SURVIVOR ON THE RUN,
TADHG COFFEY WAS THE ONLY ONE
WHO MANAGED TO ESCAPE AND TELL THE NEWS
OF THE LANDMINE, THE BOOBY-TRAP
THE BULLETS FIRED, THE COVER-UP
THAT KILLED TIM MURPHY, STEPHEN BUCKLEY AND THE DONOGHUES

THE DAY BEFORE THE MASSACRE
WHILE STEPHEN WAS HELD PRISONER
HE HAD A PREMONITION HE WOULD DIE
HE GAVE A LETTER TO THE GUARD
TRUSTING HE WOULD NOT DISCARD
THE MESSAGE TO HIS MOTHER AND THE WORDS THAT SAID GOODBYE

THE GUARD DENIED THE LAST REQUEST
AND KEPT THE LETTER HE SUPPRESSED
WHEN EMIGRATING TO THE USA
HE KEPT THE SECRET SIX LONG YEARS
TILL HANNAH BUCKLEY, THROUGH HER TEARS
COULD READ WHAT STEPHEN WROTE BEFORE THEY TOOK HIS LIFE AWAY

“I’D LIKE TO LIVE A LONGER LIFE
BUT I AM RECONCILED TO DIE
MAY GOD PROTECT MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS
REJOICE AND DO NOT MOURN MY LOSS
FOR I AM CERTAIN THAT THE CAUSE
OF TRUTH AND RIGHT, OF PEARSE AND TONE WILL TRIUMPH IN THE END”

“I DIE A TRUE REPUBLICAN
REMEMBER ME TO GALLANT MEN,
TO MY BROTHERS AND MY SISTERS, WHEN I’M DEAD
AND MOTHER, BRAVE IT CHEERFULLY
PRAY THE ROSARY FOR ME
AND PRAY FOR THOSE WHO SENT ME TO MY DEATH“, THE LETTER SAID

AND ON THAT SPOT A MONUMENT
COMMEMORATES THE SAD EVENT
WHERE LONG AGO THE BLOOD OF HEROES FLOWED
THOSE MEN WHO PAID THE FINAL PRICE
WHO MADE THE GREATEST SACRIFICE
EXECUTED ON THE BRIDGE ON THE COUNTESS ROAD

The song can be downloaded via: https://soundcloud.com/donal-power-170379558/the-countess-road-massacre.

Continue Reading

Last News

Sport