THE life and singing career of Rathkeale-born tenor, Christopher Lynch, (1920-1991) will be commemorated later this month at a weekend of special events being organised by the Rathkeale Community Arts Group.
A key event will be the official naming of the town’s main bridge over the river Deel as the Christopher Lynch Bridge.
And, in a fitting tribute to the man who sang from an early age, the two young singers who are joint winners of this year’s Christopher Lynch Singing Bursary will be announced and will perform in an evening recital. “Since the Rathkeale Community Arts Group was established over 17 years ago, we have endeavoured to keep the name and the achievements of tenor Christopher Lynch before the public,” the group’s chairperson Norma Prendiville said. “Fifty or sixty years ago, his name would have been a household name.”
In the US, in particular, the man who was born in Church Street, Rathkeale was an enormous popular success and was broadcast coast-to-coast as the Voice of Firestone. He sang before thousands in Carnegie Hall and mixed with film stars.
As part of the group’s mission to keep Lynch’s memory alive, it established the Christopher Lynch Singing Bursary, offering a purse of €1000 to a young Limerick classical singer to further their training. The bursary is being awarded for the second time this year.
On Friday, November 21, there will be a special recital in the Rathkeale Arts Centre where the joint winners of this year’s bursary will perform. They will be joined on the night by the previous winner, soprano Sinead O’Brien from Patrickswell. The recital takes place at 8pm. Admission is €5.
On Saturday, November 22 at 3pm, the Cathaoirleach of Limerick City and County Council, Kevin Sheahan will officially name the town bridge as the Christopher Lynch Bridge and will unveil a plaque. The Rathkeale Brass Band will play at the event and all are welcome.
Later that day, at 8.30pm, Tony Doyle will tell the story of Christopher Lynch in words, songs and images. Tony provided much of the research material for the Lyric FM documentary on Christopher Lynch. Admission to this event is free.
For more information, contact Norma Prendiville at 069-61522, Theresa Doyle McMahon on 086-8123855 or Anne Gaughan at 087-0654293.
The Rathkeale Arts Centre is located above the library on the Ballingarry Road, Rathkeale.