Cathaoirleach of Westmeath County Council, Cllr Fintan Cooney, used the occasion of the official switching on of the Christmas tree lights and the lunchtime Christmas concert on Tuesday December 8, to urge support for the poor and needy at home and abroad.
“At this time of celebration, I ask the people of Westmeath to remember and support those in need this Christmas. In our own county, the recent flooding in Athlone has caused untold hardship, and our thoughts are with those who are still affected,” said Cllr Cooney.
The cathaoirleach praised the efforts of council staff, Gardaí, emergency services, and other bodies that had contributed to helping those affected in Athlone.
When switching on the Christmas lights, he wished all the people of the county a happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year.
The switch on was followed by a performance by the Midlands Youth Orchestra in The Atrium, County Buildings, Mullingar. Formed in 2006 from a number of youth ensembles around the Midlands, it featured young people aged between 12 and 19. Under the baton of Vincent Hunt, they performed a mixed programme of classical compositions including Mozart, Rimsky-Korsakov, and Leroy Anderson.
The philosophy of the Midlands Youth Orchestra is to allow access to music to young people of all ages on the sole criteria of their ability, and not their financial means, and thus to be as inclusive as possible for the young people of the area.