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Friday 20 October 2017

Wexford locals perform Celtic concert Children of Lir

By Sara Gahan

Carla Fusciardi Wallace of Wexford School of Ballet.
Carla Fusciardi Wallace of Wexford School of Ballet.
Sorcha Finn, Holly Johnston, Hannah Scully and Carla Fusciardi Wallace of the Wexford School of Ballet.
Hannah Scully from the Wexford School of Ballet.
Melanie Quinn and Frances Howard on stage.
Composer Brian O'Reilly.
Kayleigh Moran and Sinead Mythen from Wexford.
Students from Loreto Secondary School and Selskar College singing on stage.

The curtain has come down on a magical weekend of song, dance and theatre as the National Opera House played host to three incredible performances of the world-famous Celtic concert Children of Lir last week.

Each of the three performances were awarded standing ovations by the packed audiences, with the production featuring a predominantly Wexford cast of singers and dancers, including local actress Sharon Clancy who played the lead role, and a youth choir of students from Loreto Secondary School and Selskar College.

Children of Lir has been enjoyed by over 25,000 people worldwide since it was first staged in 1973. It was after a performance in Germany two years ago that the seed was planted to bring the famed production to the National Opera House when Wexford man Noel Reddy approached show creator Brian O'Reilly.

O'Reilly is a founding member of Irish folk rock band Loudest Whisper, who first staged his musical rendition of the Children of Lir back in 1973 to huge acclaim.

'Noel Reddy, a friend of mine from Wexford, had been to our concert in Germany. He told us we needed to perform in the National Opera House in Wexford and was very persistent on it,' said Brian.

Brian said he visited Wexford town and had a look around the Opera House and thought it would be perfect for the performance.

'Luckily enough we got support from the County Council and we did this as a community project. Altogether we had about 108 people from Wexford out of 120 in the production,' said Brian.

Brian went to two schools, Loreto and Selskar College, where he provided music and scores to the teachers, with both rehearsing since September.

'The student choirs have done an incredible amount of work over the last number of months. Within the Children of Lir production we haven't worked with a choir of young students for stage since 1973, which was our very first production,' said Brian.

Local actress Sharon Clancy played the main character and Susan O'Leary choreographed a piece for four Wexford ballerinas to represent the swans, which added an extra touch.

Wexford Males Voice Choir secretary, Nicky Clancy, got 20 interested individuals together to form a small choir to balance out the voices from the young school goers, with pianist Fiona Kelly practising the music and lyrics with them.

'We had three performances and each one was packed. After every performance we had a standing ovation. People travelled from the four corners of Ireland to come see it,' said Brian.

Brian said the performance was only a concert arrangement but hopes to return in the future for a full performance during the Wexford Opera Festival.

Wexford People

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