Pictures: Musical night for launch of Mountmellick Men's Shed with Brendan Keely

Michelle Hogan


Michelle Hogan

The official launch of Mountmellick Men's Shed was held in the Balcony Theatre in Mountmellick on Friday, October 20.

The Theatre was packed for the occasion which was not expected as Storm Brian was raging at the time with rain pouring down.

Liam Stapleton is one of the members of the group and he said the large turnout was a good boost on the night.

"The large attendance in such circumstances was a massive boost for the lads and must have given them that additional adrenalin rush that helped them produce something special and produce something they did.

"Before proceedings commenced on the night a warm welcome was extended by the audience to a small group of asylum seekers from seven different countries, they were in attendance as guests of the Men’s Shed," he said.

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This was the first attempt by the singers to present a full nights entertainment and to showcase the new direction being taken by the group under the direction of singer/songwriter Mr Brendan Keeley from Tullamore.

Chairperson of Mountmellick Men's Shed, Ray McEvoy, gave a brief history of how the men’s shed singers came about and an update on current state of development regarding the new men’s shed for the town.

The music took off with some great group singing, some fine individual singers, plenty of sing along numbers and plenty of yarns in between. All off this was delivered in relaxed and lighthearted fashion.

Special mention on the night was given to Martin Kelly, Con Farrell and Aiden Conroy for bringing the group to such a high standard of performance.           

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The second half saw the introduction of Mr Brendan Keeley to the audience.

All the singers got back on stage decked out in matching blue polo shirts. 

"What followed was really a first class performance of popular songs all sang in harmony, this included a song written by Brendan especially for the group at the end of a two hour plus concert and the packed house rose to their feet and gave Brendan and the lads a most resounding seal of approval," Liam said.     

Vice Chairperson of Mountmellick Men's Shed, Mr. Mick Feeley, thanked everyone for their support. He thanked Storm Powell of Laois Partnership for much appreciated financial support and to Laois Arts Office for the Creative Ireland grant.

"It is great to see the beneficial effects of investments by agencies such as these play out before us here tonight, the new skills learned, the involvement of so many people, the social interaction, new friends made," he siad.

"It’s great to be part of all this, thanks to everyone involved. Thanks to the Arts Centre Committee for the use of the venue and all the extra help given over the last number of weeks," he added.

Mick also expressed a wish that Brendan Keeley will still engage with the lads in the future. 

He also thanked Chairperson, Ray McEvoy, for the tremendous amount of work he did in bringing this project to fruition. 

Earlier in the year when the singer group was just taking off, Mountmellick Men's Shed told the Leinster Express that they wasnted to make it as far as the Ellen DeGeneres american TV Show. Read more about that here. 

Pictures by Denis Byrne.