By William T. Clew
Wanted: A non-professional soprano, 15 years old or older, to sing in a concert at 7:30 p.m. March 27 at The Hanover Theatre for the Performing Arts with a trio of internationally known Irish priests.
The concert is a fund-raiser for the St. Francis Xavier Center, the soup kitchen and food pantry at St. John’s Parish on Temple Street.
The trio, known as The Priests, have appeared internationally and on television, including in the United States.
Father John F. Madden, pastor of St. John’s Parish, has sent letters to all the parishes in the diocese inviting non-professional female sopranos from a diocesan parish to audition for the chance to sing with The Priests.
“Cantors, choir members, music directors and parishioners who are 15 or older are invited to audition from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb. 1 at the theatre. Piano accompaniment will be provided and participants are asked to perform a sacred or classical piece, such as ‘Panis Angelicus.’”
Those who wish to take part in the audition must register by Jan. 15 by contacting Melanie Donegan at email@example.com or by calling 508-755-8322. In addition to singing with The Priests, the winner will have the opportunity to sing up to three solos during the concert.
The audition judges will be Ms. Donegan, director of the Actor’s Loft; Siobhan Petrella, voice teacher and vice principal at Worcester Technical High School, and Meghan Patrick, education coordinator at The Hanover Theatre.
The concert will be presented by Francis Carroll, chairman of The Friends of St. John’s Food for the Poor Program. Mr. Carroll, a St. John’s parishioner, has been instrumental in expanding the soup kitchen and food pantry, as well as other parish projects.
All three members of The Priests are from Northern Ireland. Father Eugene O’Hagan and his brother, Father Martin O’Hagan, are from the village of Claudy, in County Londonderry. Father David Delargy is from Ballymena in County Antrim. Father Eugene O’Hagan is currently the parish administrator of the Parish of Ballyclare and Ballygowan. Father Martin O’Hagan is the parish priest of the Parish of Newtownards and Comber. Father Delargy is the parish priest of the Parish of St. Michael’s in West Belfast.
According to The Priests’ website, the O’Hagan brothers, both tenors, grew up in a singing family. Led by their mother, they sang in choirs and in church and entertained in the community and in hospitals.
Father Eugene was classically trained at Queen’s University, Belfast and, for several years in Rome, where he sang at St. Peter’s and many other Roman Basilicas. He has sung in several operas, operettas and oratorios, including works by Bizet, Mozart, Strauss, Gilbert and Sullivan, Rogers and Hammerstein and Handel.
Father Martin also was classically trained at Queen’s University. In Rome he has sung at St. Peter’s and several other basilicas and in the Sisteine Chapel.
Father Delargy, a baritone, also a member of a musical family, He studied in Belfast and in Rome where he sand for papal ceremonies and at Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.
They have made concert tours of Europe, Canada and the United States as well as the United Kingdom and Ireland.
Some highlights of their careers with The Priests include recording their first album in St. Peter’s Basilica, singing for Prince Charles and Duchess Camilla, taking part in New York City’s St. Patrick’s Day parade, and singing for Pope Benedict XVI. But first and foremost, their websites states, “David, Martin and Eugene are priests….”
The soup kitchen in St. Francis Xavier Center serves more than 300 hot breakfasts per day, or 78,000 a year, according to information provided by St. John’s Parish. The food pantry provides “to go” food packages to more than 150 families with children each week, or 8,000 a year.