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Arts & Culture

Showband airs in the Áras

AS HEAD of the students’ union in UCG, Michael D Higgins was not too far removed from the showband scene and a town closely associated with that famous era. More recently, and now as President of Ireland, he was brought down memory lane and reminded of what the showbands meant to places like Tuam. Names of famous showbands and musicians were recalled when he visited the Galway town, at the invitation of a local committee, to honour a person who, more than anybody else in the town, was responsible for sending hundreds of musicians on the road. All were well capable of playing with the best, whether it was with  showbands, garda or army bands from the late 1950s. President Higgins also attended the launch of a new CD, featuring the best of local showbands. Since receiving a copy, the precints of his residence, Áras an Uachtaráin in Dublin’s Phoenix Park, echo to the sounds of some of the famous  …

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Chris scores a Gradam award

CLARE concertina-player, Chris Droney is to be honoured with the TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award at TG4 Gradam Ceoil 2014, which takes place a the University Concert Hall on Saturday, April 12. This year’s Gradam recipients range over a wide spectrum of talents. As well as the venerable North Clare concertina-player Chris Droney, they include the Limerick-born doyen of Irish musicology in North America, Mick Moloney; one of Connemara’s most versatile sean-nós singers; a member of the latest generation in a Sliabh Luachra musical dynasty; and a trio of musicians whose musical collaboration has brought to life again a unique musical manuscript trove from Munster that had lain dormant for 130 years. Chris Droney has been selected for this year’s TG4 Lifetime Achievement Award. Born in 1924, Chris is a noted concertina stylist from Belharbour, who has followed in the footsteps of his father, James, and grandfather, Michael (1829-1927), who also played concertina. Chris learned to play by ear and parental …

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Shane Kelly as Wan Word and Noel Hogan as PJ, during Sliabh Aughty Drama Group's rehearsal of Unforgiven in Mountshannon on Saturday.

Results are in from Clare Drama Festival

TOPPING the play bill at this year’s Clare Drama Festival in the confined section was Skibbereen Theatre Society’s production of No Romance, while Bradán Players performance of Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf took first place in the open section. The results at the 67th annual Clare Drama Festival were revealed when the adjudicator, Tony Rushforth gave his views on the performances held in Scariff over the past two weeks. There were two Clare award winners in the confined section with second place going to the East Clare based Sliabh Aughty Drama Group for their production of Unforgiven by John McDwyer. Meanwhile Doonbeg Drama Group took the third spot with their performance of Cavalcaders by Billy Roche. Second place in the open competition went to Nenagh Players for their staging of The Outgoing Tide by Bruce Graham, while Kilmeen Drama Group took third place with the Enda Walsh play The Walworth Farce.

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Darragh drummer coming to Glór

By Owen Ryan HERMITAGE Green are about to tour a number of Irish venues and they will be coming to Glór in Ennis on next Saturday night. While often referred to as a Limerick group, percussionist Dermot Sheedy is from Darragh and he spoke to the Champion last week from Nashville, where the group were working. “We were in Vancouver for a week, we played two gigs there for Celtic Fest and we came to Nashville the other day. We’re working with loads of loads of different producers and labels over here to see what we can do. We’re writing a lot of songs and laying them down, it’s basically music heaven over here, two of the lads were at Music Row yesterday which is like a big housing estate where every house is a studio. We’re having great craic over here, there’s a lot of work but hopefully it’ll bear fruit.” Most people associate Nashville with country, but he …

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From left, Saoirse Byrne as Annie, Maeve Plunkett as Chris, Rachael Culligan as Celia, Sandra Cox as Cora and Rita Brady as Jessie. Photograph by John Kelly

Counting down the days

With rehearsals running into the earlier hours over the past couple of weeks, there is great excitement in the countdown to the opening performance of The Calendar Girls at Glór next week. Expectations are high that the Ennis Players’ production will draw full houses for the Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday night performances. In celebrating its 40th anniversary, the local drama group decided to give something back to the community for their loyal support. Cahercalla Hospice, Sláinte An Chláir, West Clare Mini Marathon Cancer Care Centre and the Alzheimers’ Day Care Centre in Ennis were selected to benefit from the proceeds of the four special performances. Speaking to The Clare Champion, media sponsors for the project, Ennis Players chairperson, Jackie Scanlon, commented, “We are delighted to present Tim Firth’s hilarious and thought-provoking play, The Calendar Girls, to Ennis audiences and further afield. “Directed by Allen Flynn, the play tells the story of a group of English ladies who had the ingenious …

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Calendar Girls is on at Glór from March 26 to 29.

Calendar Girls Competition

Don’t forget, there’s still time to enter our fabulous Calendar Girls competition. Together with The Old Ground Hotel, we are giving away a nights accommodation and dinner for two at the Old Ground, with tickets for two to see Ennis Players’ production of Calendar Girls at Glór, which runs from Wednesday, March 26 to Saturday, March 29. To be in with a chance, just send us your favourite recipe – it can be starter, soup, main course or dessert. Full details in The Clare Champion, dated March 14 and in this week’s issue, on sale this Thursday. Ennis Players are celebrating 40 years this year and the production of Calendar Girls will benefit four local charities: The Ennis branch of the Alzheimer Society of Ireland, Cahercalla Community Hospital and Hospice, Clare Cancer Support and West Clare Cancer Services

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A group of Scoil Chriost Ri, Cloughleigh, Ennis, pupils who have been short listed for the finals of the Comortas Amhran Naisunta at the National Pan Celtic finals in Carlow on Saturday night. Front from left; Lauren Cusack, Zarena Boladale, Rebecca Sobamiwa, Emma Ikiebey and Deborah Babajide. Back from left; Glodia Luyinduladio, Chelsea Mba Ileozor, Karen Vaughan and Joe Garry, teachers, Abdul Saidi, Roy Jones Mbou, Paul Crehan, teacher, Axelle Hakizimana and Dereck Sholarin. Missing from photo are; Leah Fawl and Emmanuel Ikiebey. Photograph by John Kelly.

Outstanding performance from Chríost Rí

SCOIL Chríost Rí will represent Ireland in the International Pan Celtic Song contest. Thirteen pupils from the school in Cloughleigh will compete in Derry on April 26 following their outstanding success at the national final at the weekend in Carlow. Their entry, the only one by a national school to make it to the finals, triumphed over such talents as John Spillane, The Begleys, Áine Durcan, Na Taosaigh. Chairman of the judging panel, Aonghus Mac Nally was loud in his praise for the group saying, “This was not a token gesture for these young children rather a total applaud for their energy, enthusiasm and deep rooted musical ability representing a new Ireland playing traditional Irish music with an innovative reggae, ska – rock twist.” The school received a cheque for €1,000, which will help the fundraising efforts of the school as they now go forward to represent Ireland in the Guildhall Theatre in Derry where they will be up against …

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Warm glow to the Bridge below the town

Owen Ryan THE 1950s has been getting bad reviews for a long time in Ireland but a play by Patrick McCabe, to show in the Lime Tree Theatre and Glór, looks on the decade with a little more warmth. The Bridge Below The Town is directed by Padraic McIntyre, and he says that some of the more cheerful aspects of life in the far-off 50s are dealt with. “McCabe feels that it’s a time that gets bad press and he wanted to celebrate that joy in small town Ireland where people talked and communicated with each other and there was that sense of characters in the town, that has probably gone now. Whether it’s because of the internet or Facebook people seem to communicate in a different way and he wanted to celebrate that world where people talked or met and had time for each other.” It takes the perspective of a woman looking back on her earlier life and …

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