A CD of music composed by the late Sue Furlong who died of cancer in January of last year, was launched in Greenacres Gallery in Selskar last weekend, to raise money for Wexford Hospice Homecare.
The CD contains recordings of a concert performed in Rowe Street Church in May of 2017 by musicians and singers from around the south east, in a tribute to Sue before her untimely death.
The noted musician, composer and songwriter attended the concert and later heard the recordings in a hospital bed in November 2017 following a deterioration in her condition.
She expressed the wish that a CD would be released to raise funds for the hospice nurses who had supported her constantly from the early days of her diagnosis. Sue had been diagnosed with cancer the previous December and was in the middle of her fight against the disease.
The event was called 'Amazing Grace' as the original idea of the performance was to hear an arrangement that Sue had written of the hymn. It grew to a concert of 22 pieces of music that she had written, some of which she had never heard performed before. It was conducted principally by fellow composer Liam Bates of Kilmore Quay, with the Carlow choir Aspiro conducted by Mary Amond O'Brien.
Many well-known local singers performed as soloists on the night. Tony Carty was joined by his daughter Éabha and by Aileen Donoghue in separate performances. Also singing were James McDermott, Róisín Dempsey, Trish Goggins, Karen Lynott, Eadaoin Lawlor and Liz Murphy.
An orchestra of musician friends performed with individual choirs Aspiro, County Wexford School of Music, Valda and Vocare, the choir that Sue founded.
At her funeral, her husband David Clancy said he truly believed the concert had added extra months to Sue's life.
She sadly passed away before her wish for a charity CD could be fulfilled but on Friday last, family and friends gathered for the release of the concert recording.
'Tonight is the realisation of Sue's goal to release these recordings, to raise money for Wexford Hospice HomeCare. But as we close one chapter, I would like to think that this is also the opening of another chapter. That this is part of Sue's legacy; that her music will continue to be discovered anew. Her music is truly alive and well', said David.
With the CD, he included the following words that Sue, the mother of two teenage boys Shane and Kyle, wrote in one of her blogs: 'An artist paints a picture. I've seen the process. Building up the outline, the different layers, bringing life to a thought process, an emotion. And when it's done (or is it ever 'done'), frames it, maybe photographs it. Shows it to people, maybe hangs it in an exhibition, and possibly never sees it again if it sells.
'In my case, a songwriter, composer, my art does not give like that, forever hanging in a precious place because someone lovingly placed it there, because they very much wanted it in the first place. Unless the little black dots on my page are converted into something constantly alive and giving, sound waves touching emotions as they are released, hopefully having a positive effect on their new 'owner', the listener, they'll stay in that dark bottom drawer.
'I actually want to leave something bright and glistening for my beautiful, beautiful boys, family, friends, old and hopefully many new, draping you all in the warmth, love, joy, I have always received when writing my music.' The CD's are available from Golden Discs, Wexford.