There’s going to be a storm in Mitchelstown on Saturday, 4th December when Saint George’s Arts Centre re-opens to the sound of Rebecca Storm in concert. The centre, which has undergone a €500,000 refurbishment, has been closed since the earlier part of last year, during which time it underwent an massive refurbishment.
Getting such a well-known international singer for the re-opening night is considered a huge coup for the team at Saint George’s. It’s setting a high standard, but one which also illustrates just how the centre plans to grow and evolve in the years ahead.
“We’ve spent €250,000 re-roofing Saint George’s to keep the storms out, but now we’ve got the best of all storms back for our first concert since Christmas 2019,” said chairman Bill Power.
“We’re thrilled to have Rebecca Storm for the re-opening, but we’re even more delighted because it’s not the only big concert we have happening this Christmas 2021.”
A week later, on 11th December, Majella Cullagh will be accompanied by the BelCanto Choir, who performed for the last Christmas concert in Saint George’s two years ago. On that night, snow fell outside, as the incredible international soprano raised the roof with the wonderful members of BelCanto.
“There was an incredible atmosphere that night,” said Bill. “Little did we think that silence would befall the centre because of a pandemic. On the positive side, Covid-19 gave us the time and space to undertake the refurbishments Saint George’s badly needed.”
Those who have not been into the former church since that historic concert in 2019, are going to be blown away by all the work done inside. Not only has it been given a new roof, but it has acquired new toilet facilities which are a work of art in themselves.
The centre has undergone a complete make-over with newly varnished pews and floors, new soft seating, improvements to the entrance and, most importantly, it is now fully accessible thanks to the removal of all obstacles into the building.
“At one point last June, we had 23 different contractors doing a wide variety of work inside,” said Bill, who took charge of all building works. “We kept every penny we could within Mitchelstown,” he added, “and in return, Saint George’s has been given a new lease of life, which many thought could never happen. But we succeeded because of five very dedicated directors, the support of various grant agencies, and a loan from Clann Credo, which made it all possible.”
However, work on the centre is far from complete and it will have to undertake further fundraising in the years ahead so that such essential work as repointing all the stonework, installing a permanent heating system, and refurbishing upstairs rooms can be completed. These concerts are seen as essential to the future success of the arts centre.
Bill pointed out that all necessary precautions will be in place for all the events planned at Saint George’s. Covid guidelines will be strictly applied. All attendees must produce proof of vaccination, a current PCR test or other relevant documentation in order to be admitted to events.
“We are very conscious of our responsibilities to ourselves and the public, and will be following all Government regulations applying at the time of each event,” added the chairman.
Saint George’s has a very busy few weeks ahead, starting with a Christmas Market on Sunday, 21st November. Then on 3rd December, top comedian Tadhg Hickey, will perform at the centre. That’s the night before Rebecca Storm’s night.
Then a week later, on 11th December, there’s the night with Majella Cullagh and BelCanto. But it doesn’t stop there. On the 17th and 18th December, Eamonn Walsh will also host two nights of concerts. Eamonn is one of the most talented singers Mitchelstown has ever produced and his return to Saint George’s will be very popularly received.
Tickets for Rebecca Storm will cost €40 each. Majella Cullagh and BelCanto will be €25 and Tadhg Hickey, €10. Ticket numbers are limited. These will be on sale locally from this coming Monday at Reidy’s Kitchen Garden in George Street and The Favourite in Lower Cork Street.
Bookings can also be made by phone by calling 087-8113611 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.