By Bill Heaney
Ireland’s leading baritone, Gavan Ring, renewed old acquaintances with the people of Connemara on Sunday evening.
Gavan appeared at the 41st Clifden Arts Festival with the RTE Concert Orchestra conducted by Gavin Maloney in West Connemara Leisure Centre.
The orchestra gave a magnificent performance of Johann Sebastian Bach’s Concerto no. 3 and Symphony no. 44 which was much appreciated by the large audience.
They then accompanied Gavan for a number of Schubert arrangements before switching with the singer to traditional Irish airs, including The Salley Gardens and she is Far from the Land.
The audience joined in the chorus of Love’s Old Sweet Song before the superb evening’s entertainment ended with Gavan singing Danny Boy to the sound of the Londonderry Air.
Gavan told the audience that being back in Connemara was, for him, just like coming home. He had happy memories of teaching Irish in a school at Kilkerran many years ago, before embarking on his career as a soloist.
Conductor Gavin Moloney said the RTE orchestra had a long-standing connection with Clifden and were delighted to be back for this year’s festival.
He added: “The theme of this year’s festival is home. And we have reflected the idea of home in the programme of music we are performing for you tonight.
“Gavan, Ireland’s star baritone, pictured left, joins us here at home direct from performances at the BBC Proms and the Lucerne Festival, with Sir Simon Rattle and the London Symphony Orchestra. He will take us home tonight with some of the country’s most enchanting songs”