SPECIAL CONCERT: Singer Grace Foley and pianist Noel O’Sullivan from Killarney will join forces for an hour-long concert this coming Sunday.

Two of Killarney’s finest and best-known musical performers are to combine their unique talents to offer hope and healing to people living through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Classical crossover singer Grace Foley and pianist Noel O’Sullivan will join forces for an hour-long concert in the magnificent surroundings of St Mary’s Cathedral this evening (Sunday), at 7pm.

In keeping with social distancing restrictions, the concert will take place behind closed doors but it will be beamed into people’s homes via the parish webcam and parish radio.

The concert, which marks the longest day of the year, is designed to give people an opportunity to reflect on the events of the past three months and to offer encouragement to look to the future with confidence and hope.

Grace and Noel have chosen a programme of songs and music that they believe will carry a message that can offer joy and healing during what is a very difficult and troubled time for so many.

“At a time when words fail, music speaks and music has been speaking volumes during these past few months,” Grace said.

“I feel the need to reach out to people through music but I haven’t been able to sing in public due to the pandemic. The cathedral is such a special place for so many people and I truly look forward to reaching the ears and, hopefully the hearts, of everyone who tunes in.”

Fr Niall Howard, of the Killarney parish, said it will be an opportunity for people to look forward to a new beginning and to get away from what has been happening over the past three months.

“There is a great symbolism to the fact that the concert is being held on the longest day of the year. It will celebrate the brightest of times in the midst of all the challenges we have faced,” he said.

“No matter what we have to endure, we must believe in the goodness of people and the goodness of God to help us through.”

Grace is a classical crossover singer from Killarney, who has studied singing since the age of 14 with some of Ireland’s leading professionals, including the late Aine Nic Ghabhann, James Nelson of the Celtic Tenors and soprano Virginia Kerr. She performs in venues across Ireland and abroad as well as regularly featuring on television and radio.

Noel, a primary schoolteacher in Killarney, was the inspiration behind the incredible Teen Spirit initiative which saw dozens of teenagers performing in a very modern choir to packed arenas in many parts of the country. The purpose of the venture was to allow the teens to excel in an environment that enabled them to use their many talents to entertain, move and inspire the public with a shared vision of doing something really special.