IN news that should help brighten up the bleak winter nights, The Kerryman and Tralee Musical Society have joined forces to relaunch the much loved and wildly popular Tops of The Town competition in Kerry from next January.
The return of the fondly remembered variety competition, which in its seventies and eighties heyday attracted hundreds of competitors and groups from companies, estates and community groups right across Kerry, is sure to add a spark of excitement to the county and some welcome lighthearted relief in these often gloomy times.
The competition will commence in mid January 2013 with a number of heats in Tralee leading up to a grand finale in March.
A host of musical groups in Tralee and across Kerry have already signed on to take part and in the coming weeks we're expecting to attract many more entries from across the entire county.
The competition is open to any group (whether or not they've ever put on a show or even set foot on a stage) from music, pantomime and drama groups to sports clubs, estates, companies, shops, pubs end even just groups of friends. Enthusiasm is all that matters and we want everyone possible to get involved. The more the merrier.
Open to groups of up to 30, with a minimum age of 16, the only absolute requirement is that each group put together a 30 to 35 minute show incorporating music, song, comedy dance and drama.
The deadline for applications is January 1 2013. Once that deadline has passed on open draw will be held to decide which groups will meet in the heats which will begin in mid January and will take place in front of judges and a full audience at Moyderwell School Hall in Tralee.
Depending on the number of entries either one or two groups will qualify for the semi finals which will take place in February before a grand finale in Tralee in March.
"During the late 70s and 80s Tops of the Town used to pack venues in Tralee with audiences supporting businesses and groups from all over Kerry who came together to compete against each other. It was a marvellous source of entertainment in the town and in the county and we, with the help of The Kerryman, intend to bring it all back this coming January," said Tim Landers of Tralee Musical Society.
The Kerryman Editor Declan Malone said he hoped the competition would bring a little fun and laughter back into the county.
"Tops of the Towns has a great history in Kerry. It was a great source of fun and community spirit and we're delighted to be able to help get it back off the ground once more. We hope as many people as possible get involved and I expect it will bring a lot of fun and enjoyment to the entire county in the coming months," he said.
The cost of entry is just €50 per group and application forms are available in this and future editions of The Kerryman. Full details of all rules and requirements for the competition are available by calling Tim Landers at 083- 4056829 or by logging on to the "Tralee Musical Society presents Tops of the Towns 2013" Facebook page.