Saturday, 24 May 2008

Once Upon A Time...

Thanks to Dermot McMonagle (Bass) for this account of the genesis of the choir...
In Autumn 1983, Pat Nally (Cavan VEC Adult Ed Officer), with support from Canons Dessie O’Dowd and George Millar, invited Colm Block to lead an open choral singing day for all interested. The day was such a success that a second was demanded. This came about on the last Saturday of January 1984 and, drawn by word of mouth, another large group gathered in Cavan Vocational School with Colm Block again directing. Sheet music was handed out (opening lines were ‘Summer is a coming in, loudly sing cuckoo’ - despite the heavy snow falling outside) and the group was singing in full harmony by the end of the day. After this session was over, like-minded people gathered and agreed to call a meeting to establish a Community Choir in Cavan. Some twenty people met in Cavan Vocational School on February 14th 1984 - the Cavan Singers were born. First committee members appointed were

Chairman - Philip Cullivan RIP,

Vice-Chairman - Walter Myles,

Secretary - Jeannette Gibbs,

Assistant Secretary - Peter McCaul,

Treasurer - Martina Lee,

PRO - Mervyn Johnson RIP,

Musical Director - Martin Cahill,

Assistant Musical Director - Ellen Fleming.

Valentine’s night may have had less commercial appeal then, as four happily married couples were at that meeting - Phil & Dollé Cullivan, Mervyn & Peggy Johnston, Canon George & Olive Millar; Dermot & Phyllis McMonagle; also present were the newly elected committee members as well as Canon Dessie O’Dowd, Noel Monahan, Michael O’Beirne, Sally McKenna and Pearl Small.

First rehearsal was held on Tuesday 1st March 1984 in Cavan Vocational School. First pieces rehearsed were The Tin Soldier, Over The Waves, Speed Your Journey and Going Home. Attendances at rehearsal grew from the beginning; many various people came and went, but a solid core group stuck with it – and the rest is history.

At a Cavan VEC- hosted concert, The Cavan Singers gave their first public performance in Cavan Town Hall on November 13th 1984, along with Virginia Choral Society, Kingscourt's St. Marys Brass & Reed Band and Comhaltas. In December 1984, the Cavan Singers performed and led the singing at the Christmas Carol and Readings Service in the Church of Ireland, Cavan, a tradition which has continued every December since.

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