The Carrick-on-Suir Amateur Operatic Society was the brainchild of a local curate, Rev. James Harty in 1943. Carrick at that time was, more or less, a one-industry town, a World War raged and rationing was the order of the day. Many Irish people worked in England in the war effort. At home most of the boys and girls joined the L.D.F., the Red Cross and similar organisations.
Fr. Harty invited people interested in singing and music to stage some kind of musical entertainment to occupy the young people and also, hopefully, to improve the quality of life in the town. That musical entertainment turned out to be “H.M.S. Pinafore” and was staged in the Castle Cinema on the 7th, 8th and 9th February; 1944. The Society was born.
Our founder, Fr. Harty was fortunate that he could call on the services of some dedicated and talented people – people like Edwin Garrow-Fisher, a retired Customs Official, who was producer and conductor of the first show, and guided the Society through its first six productions. Also there to help was – Mala Shelley, the church organist, her brother, local Postmaster, Tom Power, and a local music teacher, Kathleen Muldoon. This trio was responsible for the musical direction of the Society’s first productions.
Jerry Moran, who had joined the society in 1945 for “The Gondoliers”, introduced us to Pantomime in 1953, with his great ability and enthusiasm he directed the Society’s fortunes over the succeeding 20 years. Jerry was the planner supreme and was responsible for the Musical Direction or Production (sometimes both) of 22 of the Society’s Shows. He died tragically in 1974.
Dick Meany directed the productions since 1978 and previously directed Youth Club productions in 1971 & 1974 and passed the reins into the capable hands of Liam Butler for our “Pirates of Penzance” productions 2002, Dick has been involved with 79 of the Society’s 85 productions and lately adds his powerful bass voice to our chorus line. Michael Ingoldsby tinkled the piano for a great many of our shows. Danny Carroll played in our shows both on stage and in the orchestra pit, his son Fergal has now taken up the reins of Musical Director with our society. Patricia Woods has choreographed our shows since 1981 and in 2007 has decided to take a short sabbatical.
The Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society, as it was renamed, has gallantly survived the vicissitudes that inevitably beset and too often overwhelm the efforts of organisations of its kind today by reason of the excellence of all its productions, by the never failing fountain of new talent which continues to flow into its ranks, and by the commendable enterprise which it has shown in the adoption of the most modern techniques and ideas in theatrical methods.
The Musical Society’s primary aim is to provide a “theatrical state of the art facility” for the people of Carrick-on-Suir and hinterland, incorporating a Theatre, rehearsal rooms, a dance studio, meeting rooms and a set construction workshop. We now eagerly look forward to completing our project, Phase 3 which has commenced, ensuring our Community and the Performing Arts will continue to flourish.