- The Bay Street
Theatre played host to the First Annual Holiday Concert and Sing-A-Long coordinated and produced by pianist Brenda Landrum with a performance by Irish tenor Ciaran Sheehan. The event was emceed by Bill McCuddy.
Admission to the sing a-long was free of charge, although the audience was encouraged to donate canned or non-perishable items which were collected in the lobby of the theater to benefit the Sag Harbor Food Pantry.
The management at Bay Street decided to offer up a free evening of entertainment that entire families could enjoy together. Managing Director Gary Hygom
commented, "While all non-profit organizations are struggling, we felt it was important to still give back to others as best we can. If we can provide a fun evening out away from the news and simultaneously donate to some neighbors in need, why not?"
Landrum explained, "While I was in Virginia visiting my family Bay Street called me and asked if I would coordinate a concert at the theatre and asked me to invite Irish tenor Ciaran Sheehan to join me." With only two and a half weeks to put the event together she enlisted the assistance of many local businesses and supporters, who along with the theatre's management, underwrote the evening.
Among the sponsors were The American Hotel
's Ted Conklin, Edward Burke Sr. and his son, Edward Burke Jr., Bruce Davis, and Bill McCuddy. Aided by the cooperation and assistance of the talented and professional staff of Bay Street Theatre an enjoyable and celebratory evening was had by all in attendance.
Ciaran Sheehan engages the audience with his beautiful tenor voice and stories.
Accented by a large backdrop screen depicting an array of larger-than-life snowflakes, emcee Bill McCuddy opened the evening with an announcement that the corsage given to him by Conklin just before taking the stage "must mean that we are now dating."
Acknowledging his 10 years with Fox News
Channel, McCuddy offered up his well-known brand of humor by offering thanks to local supporters including Conklin, "Who has recognized the frigid temperatures by actually turning on the heat in the hotel - but only for 10 minutes." Making a light reference of attorneys Burke Senior and Junior ("Numbers you don't want to leave home without"), as well as Sag Harbor's Grappa Bar ("Hopefully it will stay this business as nobody has the energy to rename that space yet again"), Sen
Spice [Japanese] Lounge ("Who knew Indian food could be so inexpensive"), McCuddy managed to jovially poke fun at each sponsor including Cablevision and New York Lottery.
Landrum next entered wearing a beautiful black evening gown which she indicated formerly belonged to Kitty Carlisle Hart "which was given to me as a gift from the auction for the Bay Street Theatre gala last year."
Landrum went on to answer McCuddy's quip about her nervousness by explaining, "I wasn't worried about tonight - but I was worried that something might happen to this dress."
Donated items collected in the lobby to be given to the Sag Harbor Food
Referring to her piano playing gig at Mary Manning Walsh Nursing Home in Manhattan, Landrum recounted that she, "Was in need of an Irish tenor for a St. Patrick's Day performance and had the good fortune of meeting and performing with Ciaran Sheehan."
Sheehan is a Broadway actor and tenor who made his Broadway debut in "Les Miserables
" (Babet, Marius) and later "The Phantom Of The Opera
" (with 1,000 performances as Raoul, followed by over 1,000 performances on Broadway and in Toronto, as The Phantom). Sheenhan's New York stage work also includes "Byzantium" (W.B. Yeats), "The Molly Maguires
" (James McKenna), and Pulitzer Prize winning author Frank McCourt's "The Irish - And How They Got That Way," as well as a wide variety of productions at the Irish Repertory Theatre
in New York City
. Sheehan will be appearing at Carneige Hall on March 12 in "A Great Night For the Irish."
Local resident David Lee, formerly of Manchester, England, took to the stage first to lead the audience in the singing of four songs (one in Hebrew) to acknowledge the second day of Hanukkah, including "I Have A Little Dreydl," the "Hanukkah Song," and "Havah Nagilah."
Emcee Bill McCuddy kept the laughter and merriment high with amusing quips the audience enjoyed.
Sheehan appeared next and began with "Jingle Bells" which Landrum explained was written in 1857 and was originally entitled "One Horse Open Sleigh." Followed by "White Christmas" and "Silent Night" which was originally written in German for guitar.
Interestingly, in 1863 "Silent Night" was translated to the English version and perhaps most memorably associated with Christmas Eve 1914 during World War I when German troops began to sing the song and lit candles, illuminating themselves to British troops in the trenches who respectfully ceased fire while both 'sides' acknowledged the holiday.
Percussion assistance was offered by audience members Margaret and Kevin Bodkin who provided bells and tamborines to those seated closest to them to play while singing along with Landrum and Sheehan.
Brenda Landrum and David Lee sing Hanukkah songs to launch sing-a-long
on Monday at Bay Street Theatre.
With 30 holiday carols printed on passed-out sheets this audience certainly 'worked' for their entertainment - many joined in with zest and enthusiasm during the first half of the evening, but some did request that Sheehan sing a few of the carols solo, particularly "Silent Night."
Obliging these requests Sheehan's voice held many spellbound with his melodic rhythm and command of enunciation. Coupled with some amusing anecdotes from both his professional and personal background, Sheehan's Irish charm and talent were a sheer delight. Additionally, he performed a few solos from shows and musicals he has performed in over the years during the second half of the evening.
After a short intermission to whet their whistles, the audience gathered again to continue with carols while being diligently kept on task by Landrum who managed to elicit some rather sweet and melodic sounds from the assemblage. Some rather 'large' voices were heard among the merrymakers commanding both attention and amusement.
Both Landrum and Sheehan (and those who sponsored the evening's event) provided an evening of entertainment that encapsulated the true meaning of 'gift through song' that brought together community members, old and new -- A delightful launch to the beginning of the holiday week.
The near filled to capacity crowd at Bay Street Theatre joins in for holiday songs and cheer.
Eileen Casey spent many years working in the television and music industries in New York City on the "ABC In Concert" weekly series, as well as several prime time network and cable television specials. An award-winning journalist, editor, and artist, and former Editor-in-Chief of Hamptons.com, she enjoys staying warm in Charleston and cool in the Hamptons.