Thursday, November 5, 2015

Update 6th November

Boyle Musical Society

Next week Boyle Musical Society will perform its 31st show, 'The Wizard of Oz'. What a consistent joy they have been for audiences down the years. They are markers too in the lives of so many people who have performed or contributed to them in so many ways. The production of a show requires such enormous input from the performers, the directors, the committee, the background support on stage, in wardrobe and front of house. The town too plays its part in the financial support - funding and also by being present at the shows. The atmosphere in the fine venue that is St. Joseph's Hall is invariably palpable. And the atmosphere at the post-show club venues isn't bad either. 

 The story of this year's show is of a young Kansas girl, Dorothy (Gale), who is swept away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home. She is joined by a Scarecrow who seeks a brain, a Tin Man who needs a heart and the Cowardly Lion who requires courage. Dorothy is accompanied by her faithful dog Toto.

Their nemesis is the Wicked Witch. Towards the end of their journey to The Emerald City they are joined by the colourful Munchkins along The Yellow Brick Road.

‘The Wonderful  Wizard of Oz' was written in 1900 by L. Frank Baum and was produced as a Broadway musical in 1902. In 1939 the story came to the big screen in a blaze of colour and innovation with Judy Garland giving one of the screen's majestic  performances  in the lead role. It was hailed as a classic movie and has enthralled audiences ever since with its magical song 'Somewhere over the Rainbow'.

So we look forward to seeing the adventures of Dorothy on the stage in Boyle from Wednesday November the 11th to the following Sunday on which there are two shows one being a matinee performance where youngsters especially can experience all those famous character creations.

As I said this is the 31st show and just as a reminder I'll list the previous shows and their years here. It all started with Liam O'Callaghan's production in 1984 of, The White Horse Inn *, '85 Showboat,
'86 The Gypsy Baron, '87 Viva Mexico, '88 Oklahoma, '89 Finnian's Rainbow,
'90 After All These Years, '91 Sing As We Go*, '92 Musicals Are Made Of This *, '93 Unchained Minstrels *, ''94 Annie Get Your Gun, '95 Eubie, '96 Anything Goes *, '97 Oklahoma *, '98 Fiddler On The Roof, '99 Showboat, 2000 My Fair Lady *, '01 Joseph & His Amazing Dream coat *, '02 The Pirates of Penzance *, '03 Oliver, '04 Hot Mikado, '05 Thank You For The Music, ''06 Me & My Girl *, '07 West Side Story, '08 Anything Goes, '09 Jesus Christ Superstar *, '10 Sweet Charity *, '11 Beauty and The Beast *, '12 The Producers *, ' 13 Little Shop Of Horrors, '14 Grease, '15 The Wizard of Oz.

I recognise that the archivist and recorder for the Society is Brendan Mc Gee who I believe he has all the programmes. It is important that all organisations have someone who collates the significant events of their respective organisations as Brendan does for The Boyle Musical Society.

*I have some of the musical programmes myself but I am missing a good few and take this opportunity to ask if anyone has odd ones which I have * above and if they wish to pass any of them on to me I'd be pleased to accept same.

I had a query early in the week regarding the former Boyle resident Frank Keenan. The lady talked of her dad knowing him well and being helpful to him. She talked of what a fine trained singer Frank was and wondered if he was ever recorded. I actually met him shortly after my coming to Boyle in '72. It was in Dominick Cosgrove's bar in St. Patrick's Street and I remember him singing there and talking of the technicalities -if that is an appropriate term- of the singing voice. Dominick assured the audience that Mister Keenan knew what he was talking about being a trained singer. Frankie seemed to fall on hard times and was a very visible 'character' as he walked the streets of Boyle for many years, later 'staying' in the neighbourhood of the railway station. I believe he spent his last years in the Plunkett Home where he was well looked after.

Returning to his singing and the lady's query I actually had a recording of Frankie singing and how that happened is as follows. (The long answer !) In August 1983 Radio Eireann had what might be called an outreach programme where they went to various towns around the country for a week and transmitted a 'Local Community Radio'. A Boyle Committee was formed. An outline of possible programme-content drawn up and a proposal for the Radio Eireann initiative to come to Boyle was submitted and accepted. The members I remember from that committee were; Connie Fallon, Des Curley, Siobhan Moran, Shelley Hogan, Mary Travers, Bernie Flaherty, Mary Clifford, Michael Fitzpatrick, Mrs. Graham, Eileen Martin, Enda O'Callaghan and Harry Keaney.

There were many excellent contributions from Father Peadar Lavin, Richard McGee, Mary Ryan, Micheal O'Callaghan and so on. Each area adjoining Boyle also had a 'Focus' on that area programme such as Ballyfarnon, Croghan, Ballinameen, Kingsland, Keadue, Cootehall, Knockvicar, Ballinafad and Corrigeenroe. The three themes of Farming, Tourism and Industry/employment were dealt with in a local context. All local organisations got their time to highlight activities.

The Radio Eireann overseer was P. O' Neill or Paddy O'Brien as he was better known in radio commentary terms then. Transmission ran from 11.30 am until 2 pm and 4.30 until 7. It was a great success.

I happened to 'tape' some of those programme and one presented by Bernard Flaherty dealt with local singers and songwriters. Performing here were John Costello with David Knight; Brendan O'Dowd with Paul Emmett; Michael Harrington and Josephine Carroll; Donie O'Connor; Helen Grehan; Frank Montgomery and Bernie Flaherty and finally Frankie Keenan accompanied by Helen Grehan. The song Frank sang was 'Ghost-Riders in the Sky'.

I imagine there are people who know a lot more than I do about Frank and perhaps  of where he got his training to sing and concert performances he was involved in and so on. Anyway I was pleased to be able to tell my enquirer that I did in fact have a humble recording of another fine Boyle singer.

P.S. Some years later I gave the tapes to a friend Michael Lavin from Ballymore to listen to as his dad Miko was a contributor. Being the gentleman he was Michael returned not just the tapes but he had them transferred to Disc for me and also included a summary of the contents.    


Topics that are engaging me at the moment;
1.       The spiralling cost of Health Insurance (you could add car
insurance to that). The logic of pricing thousands of people out of the market for health insurance with the law of diminishing returns obtaining, escapes me.
2.       The drink driving case early this week where a young boy was killed
by a driver who apparently admitted to drinking nine pints of cider before he went driving.
3.       Knife crime in Dublin over the recent week-end.
4.       Hotel/food price extortion at the Web Summit.
5.       The documentary 'Rugby's Wheelchair Challenge'.
6.       The death of Maureen O' Hara.
7.       The return of the farming programme 'Ear to the Ground'.
Sports Review
Boyle U 21s' had a very good win over Padraig Pearse's in the championship quarter-final on Sunday November the first last in Woodmount. The final score was Boyle 3.11 Pearse's 2.12. A late, late goal for Boyle was the deciding score so a bit of balancing of the account from the senior game some time ago when Pearse's got a late goal there. I was not at this game but all accounts it was very good one. Boyle now play St. Brigid's in the semi-final possibly on the week-end of 14th/15th. The Boyle team was as follows;
P. Goldrick/G.Gilmartin/ D. Mattimoe/ L. Brennan/ C. Tivnan/ E. McGrath/ T.
McKenna (Capt.)/ E. Smith/ T. Hallligan/ C. Flanagan/ C. Goldrick/ B.
Kerins/ C. Deery/ C. Mc Keon/ D. East. With R. Finneran, E. Beirne, L.

It is good to see Luke Brennan back in action again. Conor Tivnan, Enda Smith, Colin Goldrick - with 3 points - Conor Deery and Ben Kerins were amongst those who stood out on the day but it was a fine team performance overall and an excellent start to a short campaign. Management, A. Lavin, Ml. Hanmore, M. Goldrick, Sh. Spellman. 

Enda Smith is currently in training with the Ireland team and though the panel has still to be cut to the required number it is hoped that he will make the game which takes place on Saturday November the 21st at 7 pm., under lights obviously. There are I am told great admission packages for club groups on offer.
I missed another fine win of the Boyle Feile U 13 team over Clann na Gael in the Abbey Park last Saturday. Boyle 3.10 Clann na nGael 4.8. I missed this game as, for whatever reason, I was not unaware that it was on. The final takes place in Rockfield, Oran on Sunday at 12.30. I seem to remember a fine under 12 win there last year against Clann in the U 12 final. Boyle has not won this Feile competition that I am aware of, so a win on Sunday would be a unique achievement.

Boyle has a number of players currently on the extended, preliminary, panel for Roscommon and they are in training currently. These include Enda Smith, Tadgh Lowe, Seanie Purcell and I presume Donie Smith when his injury has cleared up.

World Series Baseball
I was unable to see the recent finals of the World Series of Baseball between the Kansas City Royals and the New York Mets because of my restricted television channels. The Kansas City Royals won on Sunday night to clinch the series with 4 game wins to just 1 for the Mets in the best of seven. As a student in New York, in '69 I think, the Mets came from the bottom of the league to win the World Series thus getting the title of 'The Amazing Mets'. Shortly after that I read an account of that Mets season in a book called 'The Year the Mets Lost Last Place'.  It is one of a number of fine sports books I have read dealing with the game baseball, a game I really got to like then. The Mets were based at Shea Stadium remembered by non-baseball people as the location for a famous Beatles concert.  Of course the aristocrats of American baseball are the New York Yankees based in Yankee Stadium. Next season I'll have to do better with my viewing arrangements.

World Cup rugby Final
The favourites came good in the final as New Zealand lived up to their promise and reputation in defeating Australia. The 'All Blacks' looked like winners from the off though Australia came back to within four points at 17 to New Zealand 21 at one stage. The 'All Blacks' just had too many great players and no weaknesses. The prince of rugby players Dan Carter capped a marvellous career with a majestic display. It was a nice cameo to see Sonny Bill Williams give his winner's medal to a young supporter who had encroached onto the field, in his excitement, at the end.

A few of us watched the game in Dodd's where the interest was sharpened by the company of Fergal O'Gara from Darwin Australia watching the game with us and his partner Martine from New Zealand. Martine celebrated the win by performing a short authentic HAKA with former East Connacht prop and bar proprietor Dennis. Martine was puzzled by the unanimous support for Australia from our company.

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