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There’s no business like show business!




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.

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American choir to perform in St Mary’s Cathedral

Music lovers are in for a rare treat on Monday night when a top US choir visits Killarney. The Colquitt Accapella choir under the direction of Mr. Jimmy L. Jarvis […]



Music lovers are in for a rare treat on Monday night when a top US choir visits Killarney.

The Colquitt Accapella choir under the direction of Mr. Jimmy L. Jarvis Jr is from the city of Moultie in the state of Georgia in the United States of America.

The choir performs multiple times a year and also produces and performs a large musical every year, with the latest production being ‘The Addams Family’ which was a sold out success.

The Colquitt Choir will be performing at St Mary’s Cathedral thanks to support form the KDYS.

More information is available from the KDYS on 066 71 21674 or

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HeartBeat’s cook off – be early!

This month HeartBeat Killarney has come up with a new slant on safe cooking. A free copy of the cook book ‘101 Square Meals – Easy recipes for everyday life’ […]




This month HeartBeat Killarney has come up with a new slant on safe cooking.

A free copy of the cook book ‘101 Square Meals – Easy recipes for everyday life’ will be available to all those who come early to the May meeting on Tuesday night.

This book from Safefood which is supported by the HSE & MABS will come to life on the night as chefs from The International Hotel Killarney have very kindly volunteered to cook some of the recipes in the book for a tasting session during the meeting.

Nutritionist Paula Duggan will be on hand to discuss the nutritional benefits of each recipe prepared for tasting. She can also advise on any tweaks required to meet individual tastes and needs.

There will be four main recipes available to taste during the course of the evening; Meat Loaf, Baked Stuffed Fish, Chicken Fingers and Spanish Tortillas. There is a fifth recipe for tasting on the night but all that Chairperson Billy O’Sullivan will say about it is “It will be available at the end of the night with a cup of tea and we hope it will send everyone home with a smile on their face.”

This is a night that the HeartBeat group has worked long and hard to make happen.

“It came together because of the amazing generosity of Tracy Coyne, Catriona White and the wonderful Kitchen Team at the International.” said Billy. In these times when the price of foods has risen dramatically it is still possible to eat healthily with the guidance from this book. There are lots of tips also on food storage, freezing food, kitchen hygiene and food allergens.

HeartBeat meetings are FREE and all are welcome to come along on Tuesday May 30th at 8pm at the Parish Centre beside The Church of the Resurrection Park Road V93 WN32.


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