Ronan Collins and Big Band to headline Billy Mac Mega Concert
Ronan Collins is the special guest at this year’s Billy Mac Mega Concert, which is now in its 15th year.
Joey Gilheany, an original member of Joe Dolan and The Drifters, and The Times Showband, has formed a 14-piece Big Band Sound to transport the audience back to the heady days of Frank Sinatra with numbers like ‘New York, New York’ and ‘The Lady is A Tramp’.
Mick Foster, Robert Mizzell, The Afters Band and Simon Casey are all on the bill for what is set to be a mega occasion in The Greville Arms Hotel on Tuesday August 27, as is Noel Battle, Chris Loughrey, Ben Dolan, Camillus Egerton, Michaela Hogg, Sabrina Fallon, Pascal Brennan, and Tori.
Joey Gilheany, known better as ‘The Gill’, is spearheading the 14-piece Big Band Sound, featuring four trumpets, five saxophones, first and second tenor, first and second alto, and baritone.
He will be joined on stage by Mullingar musicians Brian Wynne, Paul Kiernan, Anthony Daly, Frankie McDonnell from Athlone, Gene Bannon from Cavan, and Joe Keane.
“Ronan loves the Sinatra stuff,” Joey tells the Westmeath Examiner. “In fact he wanted to do ‘I Get A Kick Out of You’, but I suddenly realised that song, Sinatra did a lot of recording with the Count Basie Band who were THE best band ever!
“Count Basie had the best players, and these guys were up in the sky on the trumpet – there’s nobody in this country or even England who would be able to blow this!
“But when the word went out that I was forming a 14-piece Big Band, everyone just wanted to be a part of it. We have great Mullingar musicians in the line-up, and Ronan can’t wait to perform at what is guaranteed to be a very special night.”
Of his days spent with Joe Dolan and The Drifters, Joey says:
“I arrived in Mullingar and joined Joe’s band when I was 16. The next seven years were the best years of my life because you didn’t have any responsibilities, everything was done for you. So it’s nice to be back in Joe’s home town.”
Billy Mac’s Mega Concert is of course all in aid of a very special cause – the Family Carers Association.
“This is our 15th year, so it’s very special. We never thought we’d get this far!” says Billy ahead of the Greville Arms concert.
“Ronan Collins was originally a drummer with The Miami Showband, but when he took to singing he had a great voice and he has a brilliant personality on stage. We’re very much looking forward to having him with us.
“We’ve got some terrific bands lined up, The Afters Band, who can play just everything, will go down a treat with the audience. Johnny and Mick Cronin were one of the first bands we had when we started up the Mega Concerts for the Carers Association, so it will be nice to have them with us again.
“Robert Mizzell is a stalwart of the Billy Mac Mega Concerts and one of the top names on the country music scene today. He’s the authentic voice of country music in Ireland.
“We have Chris Loughrey, who usually finishes the show. There’s also an up-and-coming singer called Tori and she’s going to do two numbers.
“Mick Foster will go on early in the night, he’s just in a class of his own and a legend in his own right,” continues Billy.
“This night is of course in aid of the most special organisation, Family Carers Ireland. This annual concert has meant that the office on the corner of Mount Street and Blackhall has been kept open for the people of Mullingar and Longford for the last 15 years.”
Join Ronan Collins and the 14-piece Big Band Sound, Robert Mizzell, Mick Foster, Noel Battle, The Afters Band, Chris Loughrey, Simon Casey, Ben Dolan, Camillus Egerton, Michaela Hogg, Sabrina Fallon, Pascal Brennan, and Tori on Tuesday August 27. Music by the Tennessee Breakdown Band. MC John Corroon.