The annual ecumenical service “Carols by Candlelight,” will take place in St Mary’s Church, Thurles on Friday next Dec 21st at 8.00pm.
Music for this seasonal event will be directed by local well known Thurles organist John O’Gorman and will feature band members & singers “Cephas” (Noreen, Edward & JJ Cullinane), well known Tenor Michael Molumby, Rachael Willoughby, & published Poet Mrs Joan Pollard Carew.
One of the earliest forms of “Carols by Candlelight,” began in the 19th century, when Cornish Miners working in Moonta, South Australia would gather on Christmas Eve to sing carols lit with candles stuck to the brims of their safety hats. The tradition spread through Victoria and Melbourne until it was popularised in 1938 by Norman Banks, a radio announcer then with a Melbourne radio station.
Whilst walking home from his night-time radio shift on Christmas Eve in 1937, he passed a window and saw inside an elderly woman sitting up in bed, listening to Away in a Manger being played on the radio and singing along, with her face being lit by candlelight.
Wondering how many others spent Christmas alone, he had the idea to gather a large group of people to all sing Christmas carols together by candlelight. The first ever such event was held in Alexandra Gardens the following Christmas, 1938, and was attended by around 10,000 people.
Doors to St Mary’s Church will open at 7.15 to ensure that elderly people attending will be ensured suitable seating for this event, which will also feature performances from Thurles Chamber of Commerce and other Community leaders in Thurles and its environs.
All are welcome to attend this free, no ticket concert.
A collection will be taken during the Church concert, proceeds of which goes to the Annual overseas C of I Bishop’s Appeal Fund.