Car Tourismo Banner
Home » Breaking News » Ennistymon set for Happy Days
Mae Kivlehan, Seanai Mc Mahon, Ryan Benn, Sarah Blackwell and Merel Flanagan. in rehearsals for the Ennistymon Choral Society's forthcoming production of Happy Days. Photograph by John Kelly

Ennistymon set for Happy Days

Car Tourismo Banner

The sweet sound of ‘Goodbye from the White Horse Inn’ rang out around the old CBS Secondary School in Ennistymon one last time last Wednesday night, as the Ennistymon Musical Society bid farewell to their long time home.
As the society prepares for one of their most ambitious productions ever next week, they are also saying goodbye to their spiritual home of more than 30 years.
Last Wednesday night’s rehearsal for the upcoming production of Happy Days was the last that the society will have in the old secondary school. But before they move on to their new home at the Ennistymon Community School, they took a few moments to remember their long and proud history.
“This is a big year for us, it is the 51st anniversary of the first musical. We did miss a few years because of Covid, but we had our first musical in 1973,” said Emma-Jane Brown of the society.
“We had a bit of a milestone this week, we just had our last rehearsal in the CBS building. We have been rehearsing there for nearly 50 years. We started off in the old convent, before we moved to the primary school of the CBS and we have been in the CBS Secondary School for decades.
“Last week at the final rehearsal we had a number of founding members of the society there, like Donal Curtin, Maureen King Browne, we had Micheál Mulqueeney’s son Mark with us, there is a lot of legacy and history wrapped up in that building for us. The relationship between the choral society and the school has been there for decades.
“We have always had lads from Transition Year getting involved and we have some again this year, but now they are from Ennistymon Community School.
“It was an emotional night for all of us. No-one knows what is going to happen to the building now. We know for ourselves that we will be very kindly facilitated by Ennistymon Community School for rehearsals next year, which is fantastic.
“We sang a few songs together outside the building after the last rehearsal at 10pm. It was an impromptu thing, but it was a lovely send off.
“We sang ‘Auld Lang Syne’ as well as ‘Goodbye from the White Horse Inn’ which is a song from a musical that we would have put on in the 1970s. That song would have been sung by a lot of our older members after social gatherings over the years, in the early hours of the morning.”
This year the society will host the West of Ireland premier of Happy Days, a musical based on the hit 1970s American sitcom.
“This is a really new show, it was on the West End just five or six years ago. Enniscorthy will actually have the Irish premier of it the week before us. So we will be the first in the West of Ireland to put on this show,” said Emma-Jane.
“It is a show based on the hit TV series in America which was set in the 1950s. So it is full of poodle skirts and rock and roll and we have guest appearances from Elvis and James Dean and we have a lot of characters that people of a certain generation will remember.
“We have Richie Cunningham who is being played by Craig Flanaghan, we have the king of cool himself, the Fonz, which is being played by Michael McCormack and Pinky Tuscadero who is being played by Sarah Blackwell.”
The show itself is based around the fourth season of Happy Days, in which the famous diner Arnold’s is in danger of being destroyed.
“The diner has gone bankrupt and somebody wants to take it over and knock it down. So all the local people get together in a bid to save Arnold’s,” said Emma-Jane.
“So they decide to have a dance contest and a wrestling contest, which I think is going to be a highlight of the show. It is very funny.”
Set in the 1950s, music plays a very big role in the Happy Days musical.
“The music is just fantastic. All the music for the show was written by Paul Williams who won an Academy Award for the music for the film ‘A Star Is Born’. He has written very many famous songs that we would all be very familiar with,” said Emma-Jane.
“There are a lot of different genres of music in it. We have the Happy Days theme tune of course, which everybody will know, and people will feel like they have heard each of the songs before, in that really nice familiar way.”
The booking office opens on April 4 and the musical will run from Wednesday, April 10, to Sunday, April 14. The performance will take place at 8pm each night except for a 6pm show on Sunday. Emma-Jane stressed how thankful the society is to the local community and sponsors who make the show possible.
“Their support helps us to grow and be a really inclusive community group,” said Emma-Jane.
“We have members from as young as 14 years of age all the way up to 70 years and older. It is tremendous to have the new generations coming in every year. That is so important and it allows us to keep going.
“The fact that we can put on a show every year, even one that was so recently in the West End, and we do it with 35 local people is amazing.”

About Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a journalist, writer and podcaster based in the west of Ireland.

Check Also

Extended lifeguard cover ‘will save lives’ says Grant

EXTENDING the lifeguard season on Clare’s popular beaches will save lives in the future, according …