28 May 2022

Longford Live & Local: Winter Sessions celebrate Longford's musical talent

Longford Live & Local: Winter Sessions celebrate Longford's musical talent

Ríl Óg: Setanta Flood, Tómas Mulligan and Dylan Hanley Picture: Shelley Corcoran

The very successful ‘Longford Live & Local’ music and arts programme continues this week, supporting local creatives and their communities, in full compliance with the most up-to-date public health advice.

Funded through the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts, Gaeltacht, Sport and Media’s Local Live Performance Programming Scheme, this weekend sees the return of the wonderful County Choir Christmas Concert, final preparations for the opening of the Snow White Panto on Monday next, and the continuation of the two extremely popular pop-up exhibitions in Longford town.

A full programme of events showing dates, locations, and a list of all the artists performing over the coming weeks, is available to download from the Longford County Council website and social media channels as well as the dedicated Longford Live & Local Facebook and Instagram pages.

Operation Blue Santa supporting worthy local causes across Longford

As we draw nearer to Christmas, Operation Blue Santa is in full swing with Community Policing Units in Granard and Longford, in association with Longford PPN, working hard to continue raising funds for worthy local groups and organisations.

Copies of the programme are also available to pick up from local libraries, shops, pubs, and the Backstage Theatre.
These events are all supported by Longford Live and Local, Longford County Council and the Creative Ireland Programme 2017-2022.

The week that was

The Winter Sessions last week in Backstage Theatre saw a celebration of Longford musical talent. The acts, including Ríl Óg, Paul Hennessy, 4 Degrees West and Mick Warnock, represented the best of emerging and established talent across a wide spectrum of genres including trad, country, rock and light opera.

Musical director Paul Gurney put together some beautiful arrangements and was supported by the host Charlie McGettigan, who interviewed all performers between songs adding a wonderful flow to the evenings.

For anyone who couldn’t attend, the program was filmed for online viewing over the Christmas period – another element of the Longford Live & Local programme to look forward to!

On Thursday there was more music on offer, with the highly entertaining Cronin rocking the ’98 Hall in Ballinamuck, for an intimate live filmed concert. Cronin played with special guests Anna Houston and Steve Wickham from the Waterboys.

On Friday, Longford Art Gallery and the Live & Local Craft Gallery opened their doors in Longford town. The Art Gallery sold an amazing 18 paintings in the first weekend.

Both stores stock hand-made crafts and local artwork – all produced by Longford based artists and crafters. The art gallery located in the former Unique Boutique shop on Main Street and the Craft Gallery which is in the former Gamestop unit on Grafton Court will be open on Friday again, 17 December until Sunday 19 December.

Staying with art – local artist Ciara Tuite had the pleasure of being the first artist to exhibit in the brand-new Community Library in her hometown of Edgeworthstown. Her exhibition entitled ‘Nostalgia’ was opened on Friday, December 10 and runs until January.

On Saturday last, December 12, Granard Buttermarket held its very successful annual Christmas Festival. The market did a brisk trade all day, with craft makers filling stalls from the surrounding area. Entertainment was provided from DJ Pete Masterson, The Holly King and Winter Queen – and even Santa made a visit.

The week ahead

The Longford Live & Local line-up features another array of wonderful talent including at the St John's Church in Longford which hosts “Nine Lessons & Carols”, on Sunday, December 19 at 7pm.

The members of Longford County Choir have also been hard at work preparing for their Christmas Concert which returns this year with a selection of old and new Christmas favourites.

The concert will feature gifted local sopranos Emer Barry and Maria Matthews and takes place in the beautiful St Mel’s Cathedral on Sunday, December 19 at 7.30pm.

Tickets are free, but patrons must register on Eventbrite in advance to attend. The event at St Mel’s Cathedral will be fully compliant with the latest public health guidelines.

Longford’s Christmas Panto “Snow White”, the fairest panto in all the land featuring the fantastic X-Factor finalist Mary Byrne as part of a superbly talented cast, gets underway on Monday, December 20 at 6.30pm in St Mel’s College.

Extra shows have been added in order to comply with public health guidelines and the reduced capacity requirements and adults attending will have to provide proof of Covid-19 Certificates on entry.

For full details of the week ahead, check out the dedicated Longford Live & Local page on Facebook.

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