Tea and gingerbread men are the offerings at the bar/tuck shop in Christchurch Cathedral for tonight’s special event marking State’s five years as an entity and raising much needed funds for Temple Street Children’s Hospital. The brainchild of DIT’s Annette Udell, the three bands appearing – Young Wonder, Heathers and Ham Sandwich – have all been given an opportunity to arrange some songs with the UCD Choral Scholars and present it in this most atmospheric of buildings. The premise and location are a blast of fresh air through the traditional gig set-up.
Cork’s Young Wonder take the congregation immediately away from an acoustic church sound and you don’t even blink because Ian’s warm electronics suit the room perfectly. The choir make their first appearance of the evening, adding a beautiful weight to ‘To You’and ‘In Time’ and it seems as though this crazy idea just might work. Heathers, who admit to being nervous playing such hallowed halls, benefit so much from the silent and rapt audience. The siblings’ harmonies are beautiful in the room but when the choir join for ‘Forget Me Knots’ they raise the roof, set spines tingling and even the sisters seem in awe of what is happening to their own song.
Lastly, Ham Sandwich provide the full band set up of the evening. Niamh is even more magnetic than ever, framed centre of the nave. Podge is the usual loose cannon, more so given the sober nature of the surroundings, but once they are inside a song they’re a serious force. They already have a large and wide sound with added brass and strings, but the special arrangements for ’Models’ and a stirring ’The Naturist’ open the whole night up to become a mini-spectacular.
To close the UCD Choral Scholars line the aisle and, led by soloist Mark Waters, fill the cathedral with a version of ’The Parting Glass’ that could split the heart. The evening’s producer Annette Udell bids the congregation adieu, and ushers State to the pub to blow out our five candles.
Huge thanks go to all the bands; Des Early and the UCD Choral Scholars; Mark, Orlaith and Nuala at Christ Church; Tom, JC, Dave, David, Darren and Ross; all the DIT crew who helped on the night and Alison Curtis for her MC role.
Photos by Paulo Gonçalves.