The Church of the Holy Rosary in Castlebar was the venue for a very special performance of Handel’s Messiah last Sunday night.
The Handel Challenge Choir performed Handel’s famous work to much acclaim and all in a great cause.
All proceeds from the challenge and concert go to Mayo Roscommon Hospice and Mayo Mental Health Association.
The fundraising event challenged 100 amateur choristers to learn 21 hugely demanding choruses of the famous Messiah in just 12 weeks.
The choir was delighted to have An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, supporting the event by hosting the concert and the choir was also joined by the Dublin Oratorio Players, a 16-piece orchestra consisting of some of Ireland’s finest classical musicians.
As well as 21 choruses, magnificently sung by the choir, the audience enjoyed solo performances from internationally acclaimed singers Regina Nathan, Anne Marie Gibbons, Eamonn Mulhall and Owen Gilhooly.
The highlight of the evening was, as always, the glorious Hallelujah Chorus with musical director Kathy Fahey conducting the 80 voices and orchestra in a spine tingling performance of the famous piece.
Kathy and the choir were pleased to welcome Dr John O’Keefe as guest conductor for the concert.
The organising committee of The Handel Challenge, namely, Ronan Egan, Kathy Fahey, Myra Berry, Vivienne Lee and Marie O’Connor, wish to express their sincere thanks to Canon Cosgrove of Castlebar Parish for the use of the church, GMIT for the rehearsal venue, Order of Malta, Castlebar Lions Club, Mayo International Choral Festival and over 100 volunteers, who have given so freely of their time and without whom this production would not have been possible.