CONCERT In Aid of the Oblate Lourdes Pilgrimage Invalid Fund Church of Mary Immaculate, Inchicore, 5th November 2015
Last year when we returned from Lourdes and raising funds became an issue, it was suggested that we have a concert to raise the necessary funds. Lots of discussion took place around who we could ask to volunteer their time and expertise to make the night a success. After the Garda Band graciously agreed to take part we then proceeded to ask the Tusla Choir and the C.I.E. Male Voice Choir, who were all very supportive and agreed to partake. We then had to organise a venue and the night. When we first suggested that the church would be an awesome setting, we hesitated but then agreed “why not”.
Then came the night of the 5th November. It was a great and memorable night. The fundraiser for the Oblate Pilgrimage fund was a resounding success. The lovely church in Inchicore was filled with music and song, and even more importantly filled with people who all joined in a most enjoyable night in a beautiful setting.
The Garda Band closed the concert with wonderful music and got a standing ovation by the large crowd who had enjoyed an unprecedented night of music…
When we first mooted this fundraiser last year we were entering into the unknown. After much organising and in trepidation at times, the big night arrived. When we arrived at 4p.m. to check that all was in order I went into the church which was in complete darkness. The smell of the beautiful floral arrangements filled the church and the silence and peace reminded me of the quiet time at the Grotto in Lourdes. We then went over to the Oblate House. The hustle and chatter, laughter and fun that was heard was coming from Marion O’Hara and her team who were busy getting tables ready and making the sandwiches for all our performers. Back in the church Miriam and Val were setting up the table with all the beautiful hampers for the raffle, and Nora and Geraldine were setting up their table at the entrance to sell the tickets.
All of a sudden we were surrounded by men in blue (The Garda Band) who were busy taking in their equipment for the performance. The CIE Choir and Tusla Choir arrived in good time they all went over to the House for refreshments and the chat. The craic was amazing as they all mingled together.
Our Youth Group arrived and they took command of selling the tickets for the raffle. They did this very successfully with good humour and a smile and a welcome for all their Lourdes friends who were equally delighted to see them.
Aidan and Phil were outside taking care of the car parking. It was chilly but that did not deter their enthusiasm in welcoming all the crowds attending. As people arrived all you could see was people laughing chatting, hugging one another all delighted to be meeting up again. The atmosphere was electric. Many of our Friends who come to Lourdes with us travelled from different parts of Ireland to partake in the music and singing and they were delighted to be part of the event.
The moment we were all waiting for had arrived. We were ready to start sharp at 7.30pm. As I got up to say a few words of welcome I looked down on the packed church and felt delighted, but humbled at every seat being filled. I am sure the committee were relieved that what we had set out to do was successful beyond our dreams.
As the concert go underway, people were singing along with all our performers, I saw Miriam, Val, even Fr. Vincent and Fr. Lorcan dancing and tapping to the music, Gerry Bennett was like Lord Snowdon taking pictures of all that was going on.
After a night of music, heavenly singing, in a magnificent setting, it came to an end all too soon. The Garda Band closed the concert with wonderful music and got a standing ovation by the large crowd who had enjoyed an unprecedented night of music and song underneath the imposing statue of Our Lady.
As the people left, all we could hear was when is the next concert? We will be back with all our friends for another memorable night. So many of the people who join us on our Lourdes Pilgrimage turned up to support us and enjoyed meeting old friends and having a chat.
After we had cleaned up and turned off the lights, we left the church in darkness. It was unbelievable that the night was over and that the last two hours had given such enjoyment to so many. I am sure we were the topic of conversation in many homes that night. A night to be repeated, for its financial success and for the enjoyment of our supporters but also as reunion for all those who go on the Lourdes Pilgrimage, so expertly led by the Oblates and their team of helpers.
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