Monday, 1 December 2014

First Anninversary - Winnie Hughes - An Appreciation

Winnie Hughes was the 6th Musical Director of the Cavan Singers, appointed in 2005. She was no stranger to us however, as we had often performed with both her Loreto College Cavan School Choir and Chamber Choir in concerts and carol services in the previous decade. She also conducted us when we performed with Cavan Cathedral Choir, St Patricks’s College Choir and Cavan Sinfonia.
Winnie was equally at home conducting massed choirs singing sacred works, professional soloists, or smaller groups singing contemporary and popular classics. Variety was certainly the spice of our life with Winnie – we never knew what surprise the Tuesday night rehearsal might bring - she taught us songs without words, she introduced Barbershop singing, she even gave us kazoos!
Winnie was the classic “larger than life” MD – she loved music, travel, history, wine and good company, and was never happier than when all of them were combined. She looked forward to planning the next trip, be it with the choir, her close friends, or her family. She took the choir on adventures as far and wide as Barcelona and the Flat Lake Festival in Monaghan!
When illness struck, Winnie appointed our accompanist Sue King as interim MD, a role Sue assumed with supreme grace. Winnie resumed her singing with the Longford County Choir, and wrapped herself in her family and friends. She died on December 1st 2013.
Cavan Singers were invited by her husband Kevin and sons Gareth and Harry to join the Longford County Choir colleagues to sing her funeral Mass with her friend Fintan Farrelly. For Winnie we sang, from The Armed Man, a final Benedictus. Ní beidh a leithéid ann arís.
Mags Amond, PRO

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