Talented singers hit right notes
THE Glen Theatre in Banteer was packed to the rafters last Saturday night as the first 11 competitors in the eagerly anticipated Voice of the Glen talent competition took to the stage at the venue.
There was not a trace of blind auditions nor a sight of Bressie or Dolores O'Riordan yet Banteer's Voice is proving a huge hit after a dream start on Saturday.
Over the next five weeks a further 55 hopefuls will battle it out for the prestigious 'Voice' crown and the top prize of €1,000, sponsored by O'Keeffe Enterprise Electric and Renewable Energy Insulations and Twohig's SuperValu Kanturk.
Interest in the competition, which has been revived after a seven year absence, was expected to be intense.
However, even organisers were staggered by the sheer number of people who turned out to watch the contestants go through their paces.
Seamus O'Keeffe, PRO at the Glen Theatre, admitted he was taken aback by the crowd.
"The competition has really caught the imagination of the public. We had a packed house on Saturday night with 160 people in the theatre. The demand for seats was so huge we had to turn 40 people away at the door and another 40 by phone," said Seamus.
"We see manufactured talent shows on the TV all the time, but what people really want to see ordinary people they know on stage.
"That is the reason behind the success of competitions like this. I heard many people leaving the theatre say it was the best night's entertainment they ever had," he added.
Each of the 11 acts was given a rousing welcome as they took to the stage, with judges given the unenviable task of having to pick four winners.
After much deliberation they chose Shane O'Riordan (Centre Stage Theatre), Alana Barry (Millstreet Camogie Club), Caroline O'Shea (Mallow Animal Rescue) and Una Marie Cremin (Jeff's Bar) qualifying for the next round.
Over the coming weeks another 20 contestants will be chosen to go through to the next round, with nine eventually making it though to the grand final at the Glen Theatre in March.
Next Saturday night it will see Mary Gleeson and Nora Kennedy (Deebert House Hotel), Mary Anne O'Sullivan (Lahern Heritage Centre), Gerry O'Callaghan (Duchas, Mallow), John Murphy (Cois Abhine, Freemount), Jim Healy (Pike Theatre), Conor Hartnett (Sunday Night Club, Banteer), Dick O'Sullivan (Sandpit House), Carmel O'Keeffe (Anvil Bar, Rylane), PJ O'Driscoll (Boss Murphy's, Churchtown) and Eimer Guiney (Pieta House) vying for a place in the next round.
The fun will get under way at 8.30pom and people are advised to arrive early to make sure they get a seat in the theatre.