Dennis Day - The Charlestown Concert in Co. Mayo

Western People Advertisement for the Concert

Meet in Person: DENNIS DAY.
Hollywood's singing Star, in a Celebrity Concert,
In the Parochial Hall Charlestown,
On Friday, 1st of August, 1952.

The Hall was packed to the Doors, a tribute at once to the Committee in charge, and to the chief Guest Artist of the evening, none other than the well-known Irish-American Stage, Screen and Radio Star, Dennis Day.

The opening item was an orchestral selection by Mick Mulligan's Orchestra, which was tuneful and pleasing. A group of young girl dancers, from the Duffy School of Dancing, Charlestown, showed well-trained talent at it's best. Dennis was of course the big magnet of the evening and what a generous contributor he was. He spoke, he told yarns, he danced an Irish step-dance with rare artistry. He sang song after song, one of them was 'Never' from a film in which he appeared. Then he rendered: 'My Wild Irish Rose', 'The garden where the praties grow', 'Panis Angelicus', 'Ave Maria' and many others. He is in possession of a lovely tenor voice, heard to best advantage in Panis Angelicus and Ave Maria.

Next most impressive contributions to a splendid evening were the songs of Mrs Winifred O'Dea, the well-known Dublin Soprano, and repeated Feiseanna Cup winner. She gave the audience a wide range of songs, such as: 'Scenes that are brightest', 'My Hero', 'Love and Music' and 'Invitation to the Dance'.

Mr Frank Connerton, another local contributor, sang: 'Love thee Dearest', and 'The Harp that once', very sweetly and enhanced his reputation as a popular contributor. Mr P Coyle, Kiltimagh, was in excellent voice in his singing of: 'Legion of the Lost', 'Bless this House', 'The Ould Side Car', and 'End of a Perfect Day'.

Instrumental duets, Piano-Accordian and Violin were by Messrs Edward O'Keefe, and Martin McIntyre. They were highly enjoyed and skilful contributions to the evening. Father Joe Higgins, Ballaghadereen, sang 'My Dark Rosaleen', by special request and was as always, the finished musician and vocalist.

New ground was broken at this Concert gathering by a very pleasing interlude, when excerpts from Hamlet were presented by Miss Bernadette Henry, the charming and pretty product of St Louis Convent, Kiltimagh, as Gertrude, Queen of Denmark, and Messrs Joseph Cassidy and Desmond Henry, whose Shakespearian drama was learned at St Nathy's College, Ballaghadereen. It was an impressive, colourful and faultless production.

Miss Maureen Dillon was the very accomplished piano accompanist, throughout the evening, her piano recital as part of the programe, revealing her real skill and technique as a pianist of a very high order. Mr J O'Donnell, MPSI, was an ideal Master of Ceremonies.

Just before the National Anthem, Fr P A Higgins, CC, Charlestown, in the absence of the Parish Priest, Very Rev Father O'Connor, who was on a Pilgrimage to Lourdes, expressed their gratitude to the Artists for their services and to the big audience for their patronage.

Dennis Day will always have a warm place in the hearts of Irish men and women and they should never forget his wonderful tenor voice. He loved his native place, a gift given to him by his lovely mother Mary, a proud woman from Barroe.

His day in Charlestown, so long ago, will never be forgotten.

Dennis Day died on the 22nd Of June 1988, in Bel Air, Calfornia, USA.

© Cathal Henry 2003

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