Mayo Dancers help Lord of the Dance star launch 2020 Manchester Irish Festival

Posted in Connect on March 12, 2020.


Mayo Dancers ‘The Ganley Sisters’ helped Lord of the Dance star, James Keegan launch the sell out Young, Gifted and Green 25th Anniversary Show in Manchester and this years 2020 Manchester Irish Festival. The event was supported by Mayo.ie as part of its forthcoming Mayo Day promotional campaign and a number of Mayo companies donated prizes for the raffle.

The Iconic St Bede’s College which was built in 1876 was bathed in Emerald Green light for the launch of the 25th Anniversary of Young, Gifted and Green and the audience were invited to ‘Fill their Heart with Ireland’ at the sell out two hour concert.

The Manchester-born Lord of the Dance star, James Keegan flew back from European tour to officially launch the 25th Anniversary sell out concert by Young, Gifted and Green at St Bede’s College on Saturday 7 March. James was just 8 when he performed in the very first Young, Gifted and Green Show in Castlefield, Manchester he is currently on tour with the world famous Lord of the Dance show, but has took a day off his tour to fly back for the anniversary. Sean Nos Dancers The Ganley Sisters who are part of the award winning Mayo Manchester Tradfest flew in from the West of Ireland to perform at the concert and stage a Dance workshop on the Sunday at St Kent’s Irish Club.

YGG Creative Director and the Director of Mayo Manchester, Tony Hennigan commented “The audience and the performers in the show could not believe their eyes when James made a surprise appearance to officially launch the show. He brought the house down when he burst onto the stage to perform a routine from Lord of the Dance with the pupils from his Dance Academy. That moment will stay firmly etched in their in their minds and that of the audience. We had former YGG members, special guests and members of the audience fly in from all over Europe to make it to the event. It was a very special moment and one which I will treasure. They say that it takes a village to bring up a child, but it takes a world-wide global village to put on a YGG show. On the eve of the concert Michael Flatley sent us a special video message congratulating us on our 25th anniversary and for inspiring so many young people to do something with their Irish talents. THe Ganley Sisters were fantastic and gave the audience a real insight into the tradional¬†forms of Brush and Barrel dancing. ”

James in his opening speech said “A group of us gathered in this very hall to see if we could put and Irish troupe together that would put on shows to raise money for charity. None of us thought that we would still be involved in showcasing their talents at shows like this 25 years later, it is great to see 2nd generation members of our families still involved in the show. It is wonderful to be back here where it all began and I would like to thank Tony Hennigan for inviting me. I remember our after school practices with my sister Louise who as a student at the College with me in this hall. I remember going down to places like the Manchester Arndale Centre to put on promotional roadshows for the Manchester Irish Festival and to raise funds for charity. Tony Hennigan and the other Teachers at the College soon realised that it could be something more than just a roadshow and they had a vision to turn it into a sell out show. The talent that was in St Bede’s at that time was amazing and that’s how it led to us staging a sell-out show at the 2,000 capacity Bridgewater Hall. This then set off a chain of events with the group appearing on numerous National TV shows and staging sell out concerts all over Manchester and in London. I just want to pay tribute to Tony Hennigan and my sister Louise Keegan and everyone who has been involved in YGG, it was such a great team effort and it gave me and other people involved in the show a big opportunity and boost to our confidence that we could make a career from it. So many of us have gone on to be involved in the media like the singer Lauren Carter who is here performing tonight and is already a successful TV producer and the likes of Irish Dancer, Kelly Foran who has also gone onto work for the BBC along with Irish Musician Emma Sweeney who as well as being a presenter with the BBC has just performed on Robbie Williams recent hit Christmas album. I do not think it is a coincidence that we have all been able to have successful careers in the industry, getting the opportunities to perform on National TV and Concert Halls like the Bridgewater Hall at the tender age of ten years old gave us a real taste and boost to go on and make a career from it. We owe them all for inspiring us all to do something with our talents and I would to thank everyone one for that. It is a great honour for me to official open the 25th Anniversary of Young, Gifted and Green which is aid of the Christie Cancer Care Hospital.”

Young, Gifted and Green was launched in 1995 and James was one of its first principal dancers. After tonight’s concert it has now raised over ¬£215,000 for different charities from its numerous sell out concerts that have been staged all over the UK from the 2,000 capacity Bridgewater¬† Hall in Manchester to the 6,000 capacity Royal Festival Hall in London.

The show features students from St Bede’s College alongside a host of former members of the show and special guests. Former members appearing alongside James include; Louise Keegan and the Keegan Academy Irish Dance School, Grace Kennedy’s Irish Dance School, Musicians who appeared in the concert include; Fidelma OBrien, John Gibson, Martha Wall, Billy Graham, Mairead Hussey, the Moor Irish Trad group and the Fianna Phadraig Pipe Band, the singers in the show include the shows orginal principal singer, Lauren Carter ‘The Voice of a Gaelic Angel’, Molly Browne, Daisy Davie, Tara Grady and the YGG Choir from St Bede’s College. Mayo Dancers ‘The Ganley Sisters’ also flew over from the West of Ireland to appear in the show.

The Manchester Irish Festival runs from the 7 to 17 March see www.manchesteririshfestival.co.uk

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