Inishowen Tourism were delighted to see the first large tour group come to Inishowen for their two day celebration of the Amazing Grace story. The group arrived to play in several venues both here in Buncrana and Derry. The highlight of the visit was the group had prepared a special addition to their concert on the Monday night 12th of June to sing Amazing Grace in Irish for the audience. The concert was a huge success and attendees were enthralled with the whole evening that encompassed both a very moving and emotional evening sharing some of the memories and personal tributes from members of the choir.
Gina Farren from Inishowen Tourism and Mary McCallion from the Inishowen Development Partnership attended and stated “it was one of the best concerts we have had the pleasure of being at, and went on to say they were so professional and although at times there was pause for emotional thought, it was without a doubt, uplifting”. The concert closed with the choir leaving the stage and flanking the audience on both sides thanking them for coming and singing with praise to say a farewell.
The previous afternoon Saturday11th of June as part of the Amazing Grace Tour, the US choir were treated to an authentic experience celebrating Irish Cultural Traditional Music in Clonmany. This was very much a sharing experience in terms of singing, dancing and story- telling. The choir listened to “Reel Trad”, a local group that encourage folks to get together on a regular basis to play their instruments and sing. This gathering encourages new members and young people to join them and they support their learning from each other.
The venue for the session was based at Glendowen Crafts in an Irish cottage beside the shop which was perfect to create that real Irish atmosphere of that bygone era when impromptu gatherings took place in the homes throughout the local community. Ann spoke to me after the event and expressed her delight at the opportunity to host the group. She reiterated that both Reel Trad and her staff had absolutely felt it was their pleasure to meet the US choir visitors as they sang, danced and played together in perfect harmony. Ann made some traditional homemade bakes to welcome the group whilst they browsed the shop and enjoyed the music. There was a great buzz as the throng of visitors just mingled and engaged with everyone present. The choir master stated “the wee house as you call it was just brilliant, a truly memorable experience to treasure” The choir were accompanied by Ruth and Andrew Garvey-Williams and their tour operator Samuel Chestnutt. Without the hard work from Ruth and Andrew in collaboration with Samuel this weekend’s tour would not have been possible. As Development Officer here in Inishowen Tourism it was lovely to play a small part in organising such an event for the choir in Clonmany. Let’s hope this is the first of many tours as the Amazing Grace story starts here in Buncrana. Inishowen Tourism also extends a sincere thank you to Nicholas Crossan for his contribution to funding in association with local development and the Amazing Grace Project organisers Ruth and Andrew Garvey-Williams.