Irish Music Giants Honoured For St Patrick’s Gig

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Newry Mourne and Down District Council has announced details of an epic St Patrick’s Day Concert which will take place on Sunday 17 March at 8pm at Newry Town Hall.

The landmark ‘Saint Patrick’s Miscellany’ event, will see tributes to Liam O’Flynn and Micheál Ó Súilleabháin, featuring a symphony orchestra and showcasing a wealth of local talent. The show has been planned and will be directed by Camlough-born, international violinist, Joanne Quigley McParland, co-director of Newry Chamber Music and the Fews Ensemble.

Council Chairman Councillor Mark Murnin said: “This St Patrick’s Day showcase event, which is part of the day’s festivities across the district, promises to be a wonderful evening of music, song, dance and tribute. Liam O’Flynn and Micheál Ó Súilleabháin will be remembered through a newly-composed work by Neil Martin, and I can think of no better way of honouring these world-renowned, sadly-departed pair than through music.

Forget Brexit – preparations are ongoing for the big day – the Toner family pictured in 2014 are all dressed up for St Patrick’s Day in Downpatrick. The concert in Newry on St Patricks Day will reveal a wealth of Irish musical talent. Will be another great start to the Easter. 

“Newry Town Hall will resound to the strains of a symphony orchestra supporting stellar local and international artists. We are all looking forward to this event, which closes our St Patrick’s Day activities, and I urge you to get your tickets booked, since this is certain to sell out.”

Speaking about the concert, Joanne Quigley McParland said: “It has a been a privilege to produce this concert and I am delighted to bring artists of international calibre to the stage of the Town Hall. This event will be a new and exciting development for the district with a 50 piece, fully professional orchestra on stage for a performance of Shaun Davey’s iconic piece ‘The Brendan Voyage’. Shaun Davey was inspired to write this work for solo uillean pipes and full symphonic forces and it was made famous by the legendary piper Liam O’Flynn who sadly left us in 2018.

“Pianist and composer Micheál Ó Súilleabháin was a friend of mine and I had the great honour of working with him on numerous occasions. In 2004 Micheál and I put on a St Patrick’s day concert here in Newry Town Hall and it seems fitting that we also honour him 15 years on from that night.”

Derry pianist Ruth McGinley will be performing the world premiere of Neil Martin’s composition Slán le Máigh, which he has written especially for this event in memory of Micheál. A friend and colleague of Liam O’Flynn, Neil Martin will also be taking the lead on pipes for this performance. The orchestra will be conducted by David Quigley who will also be playing with Newry-born baritone, Ben McAteer and soprano Fiona Flynn in the concert.

Many local musicians will be joining the ensemble for the evening, including Rebecca Breen on viola who plays with many ensembles including the London Symphony Orchestra, trumpeter Stephen Murphy who is forging his career in Great Britain, violinist Clare Feehan, a former member of the Ulster Orchestra; and Conor Masterson on violin, back after a year touring with Niall Horan.

Also taking to the stage will be Hilltown’s own singer songwriter Matt McGinn along with Ulster Champion Irish Dancer, Siún Ní Choigligh, who will perform a traditional set dance and 11 year old concert harpist Paige McDonald. Master of Ceremonies, and Newry man, John Toal will read a short story written especially for the Saint Patrick’s Day event.