Dundalk Musical Society impress at AIMS
A group of performers from Dundalk Musical Society enjoyed the experience of performing at the opening of the annual Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) Awards in the INEC Killarney recently.
It proved a particularly memorable trip for the group as Niall McCooey was presented with a runners-up award on behalf of the technical team who had been nominated for their work on 'The Addams Family'.
Paudie Breen explained that the invitation to perform at the INEC came from musical director Gareth McGreevey, chairperson of the St Agnes Choral Society in Belast and PRO of the AIMS Northern Region who were tasked with organising the routine for the opening ceremony.
'We had met him at the AIMS awards last year and struck up a friendship,' recalls Paudie. 'He came to see our production of the Addams Family last October and was very impressed.'
While it was the Northern Region of AIMS who were opening this year's awards ceremony, Gareth decided to invite Dundalk Musical Society to join them as they are near neighbours.
'When he heard that a large contingent from the Society was travelling to Killarney, he asked us to take part in the opening number with a number of groups from Northern Ireland.'
'There were just four rehearsals for the routine,' continued Paudie. 'We had two in Belfast and two in Newry with Annmarie Morgan and her daughter Naoimh. Annmarie runs a theatre school in Newry and Naoimh dances in the West End, so they put together the choreography for the routine.'
The nine performers from Dundalk Musical Society joined members of six musical societies from across Northern Ireland to perform their opening routine called 'A Night at the Movies' which included songs from Mary Poppins, 'A Star is Born', and 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.
'We were following in the footsteps of last year's opening performance of a medley from 'The Greatest Show' which had received a standing ovation so the bar was set very high,' said Paudie.
However, this year's performance also got an enthusiastic response from the 1,200 strong audience made up of musical theatre folk from around the country.
'It's testament to the wonderful arrangement by Gareth and choreography by Annmarie and Naoimh that it went down a storm,' he said. 'We got such positive feedback and already videos of the performance are getting tens of thousands of reviews.'
The icing on the cake for Dundalk Musical Society came when Niall McCooey was presented with a runners up award on behalf of the technical team which included lighting designer Peter McDonnell and sound engineer Enda McCusker.
'They were nominated for best technical light, sounds and set design for their work on The Addams Familym' explained Paudie. 'The set is a huge element of any production. We hire our sets from a professional company in the UK and there's a huge amount of work involved. Months and months of planning are required to work out what's needed, what will work on the stage, as well as organising the transport and assembly.'
'We had a magnificent staircase for The Addams Family last year and it arrived like a Lego set, so all the pieces had to be put together,' he said.
'The nomination and runners-up award were a huge testament to the creative and dedication to our team of volunteers who make up the technical team. Without them there is no way we could put on a show. They don't get to go out on stage and take a bow but are doing it for the love of being involved in musical theatre, the camaraderie and the craic.'
Dundalk Musical Society weren't the only local group represented at the awards weekend as S.O.N.G. were runners up in the best choreography category for their production of Annie.