Concert For Peace a great success For Peace, Knock Basilica, Saturday May 14th – an outstanding success

It was advertised in the weeks prior to the event as ‘spectacular’, ‘a musical extravaganza’, ‘a perfect setting’ – all these words and descriptions were used, but perhaps the most appropriate way to describe the event which took place last Saturday, May 14th, is heavenly and awe-inspiring. The concert at Knock Basilica, hosted by the Mayo International Choral Festival was one of those rare opportunities for audiences to experience a truly once in a life-time event.

The presenter Liz Nolan of RTE lyricfm started proceedings by announcing the arrival of the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins and Sabina Higgins. The National Anthem was performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and sung by the 120-strong Peace Choir comprising of Ballina Chamber Choir, Cór Mhaigh Eo and the Dún Laoghaire Choral Society – what an opening.

David Brophy who, not only directed the orchestra and choir, but captivated the willing audience members – all 2,700, by putting them under his spell with his magic baton.

The first part of the concert was a series of pieces composed by Patrick Cassidy, who attended on the night and received a standing ovation.

The soloists Mezzo Soprano Anne Marie Gibbons and Tenor Owen Gilhooly sang beautifully and this part of the concert also featured Odhrán Ó Chasaide on uilleann pipes and violin. Pieces included Vide Cor Meum, A Supplication and Mise Éire, which was sung by Sibéal Ní Chasaide.

The second part of the concert featured excerpts from Sir Karl Jenkins ‘The Armed Man: A Mass For Peace’ which was given the deserved star treatment of the highest standards of vocal and musicianship by the members of the Peace Choir, the RTÉ Concert Orchestra, and soloists. The concert, produced in association with The Western Development Commission, will be broadcast on RTÉ lyric fm at a later date.

Overall the night was an outstanding success.