Despite the wintry conditions, a packed house braved the elements on Saturday 13 December to witness the West Cork Choral Singers sing their hearts out in a bravura performance of George Friedrich Handel’s timeless classic – Messiah – at Abbeystrewery Church in Skibbereen.
The church has played a pivotal role for the choir over the years and they always find it a pleasure to perform there.
The choir were augmented by four soloists of no little stature, namely Mary Hegarty (soprano), Camille Grieshel (alto), Bryan Husband (tenor) and Rob Kennedy (bass). Very sadly, Deirdre Moynihan, who had been scheduled to sing the soprano part, had, at the last minute, to cry off due to her father Patrick’s death. The choir offer their sincere condolences to Deirdre on her sad loss.
Notwithstanding the last-minute call, Mary Hegarty proved to be an excellent substitute and, along with her fellow soloists, plus the orchestral accompaniment – led by Carol Daly – added immeasurably to the tone of the evening.
The custom of standing for the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus was not taken up wholly in Skibbereen. The audience did, however, rise to their feet at the end of the performance, showing their appreciation by according the choir a standing ovation.
Sustained by mulled wine and mince pies, the 300-strong crowd made their way out into the chill evening and home.