Farewell Theme Night #27…

So another Theme Night is consigned to the past. It was the most ambitious one yet in many ways, but was great fun putting it together, and the reaction has been just fantastic – thanks so much to everyone who contributed so far, and here’s one last reminder that if you still wish to contribute towards the costs of making the show, you can do so here.

You can see all the videos from the show here, including the entire show, and a special one just posted – Joe Hunt and Vanessa Byrne’s Everybody’s Free to Wear a Mask.

And indeed if you want to take a trip down memory lane, you can look back at all the videos from past theme nights here.

As always with these shows, so much time was put in by so many, and I’d like to once again acknowledge everyone who contributed.

Thanks to the 17 people who got involved in the theme nights for the first time – Helena Boland, Karl Burthom, Noah Canham, Sean Carleton, Vinny Casey, Kieran Cunnane, Ciara Frahill, Rebecca Friel, Aine Gilmore, Kevin Healy, Sarah Killoran, Karen Lynch, Drew Maitland, Teresa McCormack, Brian Mulligan, Ellen Murphy, Rummy.

And a special thanks to those reaching significant theme night milestones – so much hard work put in by these people over the years.

25 theme nights – Sinéad Conway and Eoin Troy.

20 theme nights – Niamh Crowley and Joe Hunt.

15 theme nights – Tabby Callaghan and Marie O’Byrne (all consecutive).

10 theme nights – Margaret Curley, Eddie Fitzpatrick, Tom Flanagan, Fraser Gaine.

5 theme nights – Gillian Brennan, Naoise Devaney, Larry Gallagher, Oonagh Monahan, Peadair Murphy.

As you would have seen during the show, Chris Baillie has returned to his native New Zealand, but he has left his Golden Jacket with us, and it has become tradition that it is awarded after every Theme Night – not necessarily because of a performance but to someone who contributed above and beyond this particular time and best embodied the spirit of this particular theme night.

There are certain people who could win the Golden Jacket every time, given their consistent dedication to these nights. One of those is Niamh Crowley, who I’d like to mention in particular this time. Her unseen work in writing the string and horn arrangements and indeed her playing is so important to the sound of the songs, but it is also hugely down to her vision and graft over the years that we have so many talented and capable young musicians involved in these shows. As seen in her main contribution to the night, she and the Sligo Academy of Music are saying goodbye to a talented crew this year, but it hopefully won’t be the end of their involvement in the nights.

But if Niamh won it this time, we’d have nobody to give it to when we finally get to her favourite theme – Theme Night #91 – Musicals!

So the winner this time is also someone who does a lot of unseen work for the nights. Someone who provides me with many great ideas that end up in the show, and also censors my bad ideas and makes sure they don’t go in! She organised and looked after us all when we had a gathering to say goodbye to the aforementioned Chris Baillie, and most importantly was a huge source of wisdom and strength when she helped me and the show through two fairly major off-stage setbacks we had this time.

She also set the tone for the show this time by singing the very first note, is a long-standing member of the choir, and indeed the third alto to win this award. So let the slagging commence (!), but trust me – she deserves it…

The winner of the Golden Jacket for Theme Night #27 is….Sinéad Maguire.

Finally – as I said during the show on Thursday, I don’t yet know when or how Theme Night #28 will take place. We’ll let the dust settle on this one and see how things unfold in our country and the world over the next few months and we’ll figure it out. All I can promise is that you’ll find out first if you’re subscribed to the Theme Night Email list.

It’s a new playing pitch out there for musicians at the moment, so as always but especially now suggestions and ideas from fans and followers are welcome – I can’t promise I’ll act on them all, but they will certainly all be given due consideration in order to produce the best possible show next time out. Thanks as always to you all for watching and for all your support.