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Very early on Saturday the 8th April about 50 members of the Choir and 25 supporters began the journey to Athy in County Kildare for the first of two concerts arranged by the Lions Clubs of Athy and Kilkenny.
Once aboard the Ferry we set sail on a beautiful morning with calm waters, a good start. Having reached Dublin without any casualties we travelled about 90 minutes to the town of Athey where on the outskirts we went to visit an addiction Centre by the name of Cuan Mhuire which is one of several such centres in Ireland to help people with alcohol or drug problems. We were met at the entrance to the centre by a traditional Irish Piper who led us down the drive to the centre itself where the welcome was overwhelming. The centre had organised fantastic food for us which was greatly appreciated.
We then went out to an open air amphitheatre where we sang about six songs for the very appreciative and large audience present. This was an excellent start to the trip. It was on then to the centre of town where we had a few hours to relax in the warm sunshine before assembling at St Michaels Church where the concert was to be held. An old church with a lovely stained glass window and excellent acoustics. Prior to the concert we were royally fed by the organisers which begged the question would we be able to sing after such a feast.
This Church had a capacity of about 250 and the organisers could not tell beforehand if it was going to be a sellout. About five minutes before we were going to sing we were asked to delay as an SOS had gone out for more chairs. When we entered the Church there were people sitting in the aisle and filling the standing areas to the rear… to say it was packed was an understatement. We were sharing the stage with a local school Choir and one of Irelands foremost pipers, Brian Hughes who were wonderful. We finished off the evening by singing our arrangement of the Irish national anthem Amhran na be Fiann which was very well received.
It was then back on the bus for the journey to our lovely Hotel in the centre of Kilkenny and there were 75 very tired people grateful for a good nights sleep that night. On the Sunday morning we were free to wander around the lovely town of Kilkenny with its rich history, superb castle and park. Some walked the town while others took advantage of the brilliant little train that drove around the town visiting major sites and back streets alike, a great experience.
The concert on Sunday afternoon organised by the Kilkenny and Carlow Lions Club was to be held at the beautiful St Johns Church with its great acoustics. One or two minor hitches were overcome thanks mainly to the superb professionalism of our accompanist Elizabeth. Even during our rehearsal the acoustics took our breath away and we were really looking forward to the concert itself.
Once again a very large audience were present and we were sharing the stage with a local soloist and instrumentalist. The audience were greatly appreciative of the Choir and the voice of John Eifion during several of our songs which echoed around the wonderful Church. At the end the audience, as previous night, were on their feet demanding an encore. We finished the evening, as previously, with the Irish and Welsh Anthems which went down extremely well, a brilliant end to a brilliant evening.
A great deal of thanks has to be paid to both the Lions Clubs of Athy and Kilkenny for their superb arrangements and welcome. It was a trip, although short, was one which will remain in our memories for a long time and we hope that the monies raised at both concerts will make some difference to the various Charities.
On Thursday, 6th October 2016 an e-
It was to be a prestigious event attended by the Prime Minister, Lord Coe and many other VIP’s but only a week for us to make the arrangements. The response from the Choir members was unanimous that it was too great an honour and occasion to refuse and despite the short notice approx 60 members agreed to go. Thankfully the Choir has several members willing to work tirelessly and within a week all arrangements had been made. We understood that the other Artistes attending were Olly Murs and Rebecca Ferguson along with an expected crowd of around 150,000!!!
Once the songs had been rehearsed and our Deputy conductor Huw Alan Roberts had recovered some of his nerves we began our journey to Manchester and we arrived at the magnificent City hall. The stage in the main square was huge and surrounded by media equipment. The first job was to set up and have a sound check which is where we had our first problem! Someone, who shall remain nameless, had forgotten to bring a box containing all the cables, pedals etc for our keyboard. A fact only found out as we were setting up.
By now we knew that Olly Murs was not attending the event but even better for us the Kaiser Chiefs were standing in and much to their credit, allowed us to use their own keyboard… relief and gratitude all round. Once Liz, our accompanist, had calmed her nerves her sound check on the keyboard went perfectly.
Just as the Choir were to carry out our soundcheck, the huge banner behind the Choir decided to collapse. Thankfully far enough away from the Tenors (a precious commodity) but quite close to the Bass section therefore we had to vacate the stage sharply to allow repairs to be made. This took longer than anticipated therefore our soundcheck was cancelled, we would have to perform without soundcheck or rehearsal!!!!!
The time came for us to take the stage with a huge crowd (and a parrot!!) in attendance. The sun came out and we all waited nervously for the backing track to start and we were away. The speaker system was loud and carried our sound all around with echoes of Blue Monday and One Day like This going for miles.
Our ‘spot‘ was soon over and we left the stage to cheers and applause. Gaby Logan in the BBC studio referred to us as a New Order Tribute Band…… that’s a first. It was a great experience once again for the Brythoniaid made especially so by the superb staff and technical crew, our liason officer Mandy and the Kaiser Chiefs…. Thank you all.