On Friday, Oct 5th 2018 the family and friends of Mick (Mícheál) Travers joined with Dolce to pay tribute to Mick by way of a concert in his honour. Sadly, Mick passed away earlier this year. He was a long- standing member of Dolce who contributed significantly to the Dolce community on many levels; musically, culturally, as a committee member and chairperson and as a friend. Mick is dearly missed by all of us in Dolce but he is in our hearts on Thursday nights when we meet to rehearse.
The concert took place in the beautiful setting of the Church of St. John the Baptist, Clontarf. It was opened by a short welcome from the Rev. Leslie
Robinson to whom we are extremely grateful for the use of her church premises. Dolce performed the first three pieces, ‘Mo Ghille Mear’ and ‘Irish Blessing’ being familiar favourites and ‘ Cantique de Jean Racine’ (Fauré) a less known but beautifully rich and elegant religious choral piece. The “Music Makers” then followed with a number of old favourites of Mick’s, including ‘Past the Point of Rescue’, ‘Rock and Roll Kids’ and ‘Those were the Days’. The audience enjoyed joining in some of the choruses showing great enthusiasm for ‘Those were the Days’! The Music Makers is a group of musicians from Dublin and close-by who meet regularly to play informal sessions. Harry and Ronnie, two Dolce tenors are members of the Music Makers and in his final two years Mick enjoyed singing and playing with them.
After a short intermission Mick’s own family members and close friends performed cherished pieces which held fond memories for them of Mick. His brother Anthony recalled scenes from their own family home in Ballyshannon where there was always music and song and where Mick developed his love of singing and playing the fiddle and guitar. Daughters Sinéad and Úna each read a poem while his son Hugh sang a few songs, accompanied by himself on guitar and cousin Éamonn on piano. Hugh recalled some anecdotes from family parties and gatherings and how his father didn’t really have a ‘party piece’ rather he was always the party. Eamonn then played his own composition for piano which was indeed a treat. Mick’s brother John read a piece written by Mick himself recalling his fondness for the welcoming environment of Waltons music shop on North Frederick Street from his student days right up until it closed. Séamus and Frank, friends and fellow classmates of Mick’s from his days in St. Patrick’s College played a selection of songs and music.
For the final section Dolce sang a number of differing styles of songs from Danny Boy to the lively Babethandaza, a South African folk song. Our wonderful piano accompanist, Celine Kelly, took to the hand drums for the latter adding great rhythm and authentic texture to the song. ‘The Bass from Ballyshannon’, a witty and entertaining song, composed and sung by Dolce bass Paul Murphy captured the fun and comradery Mick engendered within Dolce. The ultimate tribute to Mick from Dolce has to be the haunting composition by our own Musical Director, Deirdre Ní Chaomhánaigh of ‘Begin’ set to lyrics of the poem by Brendan Kennelly. The piece opened with a small group of singers while solo parts bounced the melody from line to line until the choir in full swelled the dynamics bringing the piece to its finale on a hopeful note, a place to rest. ‘Begin’ was one of Mick’s favourite poems. The score was presented by Deirdre to Mick’s wife Anna after the performance.
The concert came to an end with everyone joining with Dolce in singing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah, another of Mick’s favourite Dolce pieces.
Thanks to all who participated and made the concert such a fitting tribute to Mick. As his wife, Anna said on the night the only thing missing was Mick, he would have loved it.
A big thank you to Celine, our piano accompanist turned drummer.