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The show goes on for musical society
Members of Ennis Musical Society in rehearsals for a recent production. Photograph by John Kelly

The show goes on for musical society

IN true show-biz style the future of Ennis Musical Society has been secured with a fantastic response to a GoFundMe appeal.
Society chairperson Rachel Culligan said is it phenomenal that their €7,000 target had been reached within just eight days of the fundraising launch. In addition, the society has received financial support from organisations and individuals with an interest in the arts.
“Now we can pay off our debts and look forward to getting back on track for next year’s production in Glór,” she said.
Continuing, Rachel said, “Maeve Fox of Pantaloons Ennis came forward, as well as Allen Flynn of Ennis Players. He’s also decided to come on board as our main sponsor for next year – that’s fantastic. Allen went through his contacts and then came back to say that a Clare man living outside the county wanted to make an anonymous donation of €6,000. Our society president Pat Buckley contributed too. All this helped to get us sorted out.”
This certainly lifts the gloom for the society which was at risk of folding because of unforeseen circumstances earlier this year. The society was dealt a cruel blow when, after the matinee and first night of Seussical last March, the production was closed due to Covid-19. About 240 attended the matinee and only 100 on the opening night; people were afraid anyway, as details of the pandemic emerged.
Rachel said a lot of hard work had gone into their production of the sung-through musical comedy by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, based on the many children’s stories of Dr Seuss.
“It cost around €21,000 to put it all together and then we were left without any money from the box office which would normally help us break even, give or take. We were able to claw back some, but we were still left with €14,000 to make up. With Covid-19 we couldn’t do the usual flag days, quizzes or other events to raise money. We’d only membership fees.
“We had a few ideas and decided we could make money by bringing the show to the public in an online video. We made a video of all the characters at home singing the closing number from Seussical; it’s upbeat, and that went online,” she said, adding that the GoFundMe link channelled public’s appreciation of the role of the society in the community.
Now, Ennis Musical Society is going to take up where it left off for the 2021 show with Seussical.
“We’re starting rehearsals in January; we hope everything will be okay by them, otherwise it will be difficult with distancing for on-stage rehearsals and even with the orchestra. We’ve decided to continue with Seussical, but we’ll be rehearsing it as if it’s a new show for us. The leads will be the same unless somebody drops out, but we need more people for the chorus.
“I’m sending a big call-out for men; we can always do with baritones and tenors, as well as males for the chorus,” said Rachel.
Stressing the need for more men in the society, Rachel said she has even been drafted in to play non-singing male roles or comedy roles.
“There are a lot of men out there who haven’t any interest in hurling or football and the musical society could be for them. Besides that, there’s something for everybody in being part of a group like ours; if you don’t sing or perform, there’s always plenty of work to be done behind the scenes,” Rachel concluded.

Austin Hobbs

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