The Cecilian Musical Society


~Joe Donnellan


 In 1919 the then Rector of the Sacred Heart College, Father Laurence Potter SJ, wished  to raise funds for  the renovation of the church organ and sought advice on how best to  achieve this. Various suggestions  were made, ranging from a choral group to a troupe  of Christy Minstrels. It was eventually decided to stage  a musical, and so the Crescent  Operatic Society was formed. The first show selected was A Greek  Slave which was  produced at the Theatre Royal in Cecil Street, and ran to great acclaim. The Society  continued to perform for most of the 1920s.

Fathers Robert Dillon-Kelly and William Paul O'Reilly were prominent in the Society's  activities in that time  and organised many of the shows. In 1924 the name was change  to the Cecilian Operatic Society at the  suggestion of M.J. Flood, then District Justice in  Limerick. In the 1930s the Society did not perform regularly,  and it was not until the  early 1940s that its activities were reactivated with a series of concerts and  orchestral  productions. The Society was now called The Cecilian Musical Society, and under the  guidance  of Fathers Vincent Dennehy and William Saul. One of the concerts had a  performance of Grieg's Piano  Concerto by Mr. Kerry Brady, a nephew of the Musical  Director, Father Dennehy. 

A Greek Slave ~ May 1919
A Greek Slave ~ May 1919
Cast includes: Hubert Spillane, Michael O'Doherty, James O'Doherty, Rosie McInerny (O'Neill), Violet Guinan (Hackett), Claire Hanrahan, Paddy O'Donovan-Reid

Past Productions

1919 A Greek Slave
1924 Trial By Jury and The Fair Equestrienne
1925 The Gondoliers
1925 The Gondoliers
1925 The Mikado
1926 A Country Girl
​1927 A Country Girl
1928 Our Miss Gibbs
1944 - 1946 Choral & Orchestral Concerts
1947 King of Candyland (Pantomime)
1948 The Daughter of the Regiment
1948 Jack and the Beanstalk (Pantomime)
1949 The Daughter of the Regiment
1949 Robinson Crusoe (Pantomime)
1950 Ruddigore
1950 Carnation GIrl
1950 Lalla Rookh (Pantomime)
1951 The Quaker Girl
1951 The Geisha
1951 Red Riding Hood (Pantomime)
1952 Florodora
1952 Our Miss Gibbs
1952 Aladdin (Pantomime)
1953 Dorothy
1953 The Maid of the Mountains
1953 CInderella (Pantomime)
1954 A Waltz Dream
1954 The Student Prince
1955 The Arcadians
1955 The New Moon
1956 The Belle of New York
​1956 A Country Girl
1957 White Horse Inn
1957 Oklahoma
1957 Choral & Orchestral Concert
1958 Bless the Bride
1958 Show Boat
1958 Choral & Orchestral Concert
1959 The Merry Widow
1959 Night in Venice
1959 Choral & Orchestral Concert
1960 Naughty Marietta
1960 The King and I
1961 Passion Flower (Carmen)
1961 The Quaker Girl
​1962 The Geisha

1962​ South Pacific
1963 Die Fledermaus
1963 The Desert Song
1964 The Merry Widow
1964 Rose Marie
1965 The Belle of New York
1965 Oklahoma
1966 White Horse Inn
1966 Carousel
1967 The Student Prince
1967 The New Moon
1968 The Gypsy Princess
1968 South Pacific
1969 The Merry Widow
1969 My Fair Lady
1970 Oliver
1970 Calamity Jane
1971 The Golden Years
1971 Die Feldermaus
1972 Hello Dolly
1972 The Desert Song
1973 The Gondoliers
1973 Fiddler on the Roof
1974 The Gypsy Baron
1974 The Yeoman of the Guard
1975 Annie Get Your Gun
1975 Show Boat
1976 The Belle of New York
1976 The Merry Widow
1977 The Golden Years
1977 Die Feldermaus
1978 The Sound of Music
1978 Viva Mexico
1979 The New Moon
1979 My Fair Lady
1980 The King and I
1980 Guys and Dolls
1981 The Pirates of Penzance
1981 Camelot
1982 The Student Prince
1982 Fiddler on the Roof
1983 The Gondoliers
1983 Gigi
1984 Oklahoma
1984 The Merry Widow
​1985 The Mikado

1985 Kiss Me Kate
1986 Hello Dolly
1986 7 Brides for 7 Brothers
1987 The Sound of Music
1987 The Pyjama Game
1988 South Pacific
1988 Annie
1989 The King and I
1989 Show Boat
1989 70th Anniversary Concert
1990 Guys and Dolls
1990 Fiddler on the Roof
1991 Oliver
1991 Anything Goes
1992 A Salute to Musicals
1992 Brigadoon
1993 Voices and Brass
1993 West Side Story
1994 The Pirates of Penzance
1994 The Merry WIdow
1994 75th Anniversary Concert
1995 7 Brides for 7 Brothers
1996 Godspell
1996 My Fair Lady
1997 Magical Musical Moments
1997 Me and My Girl
1998 Singin' in the Rain
1999 80 Years of Magical Musical Moments
2000 Camelot
2002 More Magical Musical Moments
2002 Guys and Dolls
2003 Sweet Charity
2004 Oklahoma
2005 My Fair Lady
2006 Oliver
2007 Crazy for You
2008 Singin' in the Rain
2009 42nd Street
2009 90th Anniversary Concert
2010 The Wiz
2011 Hello Dolly
2012 Songs with Style
2012 West Side Story
2013 An Evening with the Cecilians
2013 Copacabana
2014 Grease
2015 Oliver
​2015 The Addams Family
​2016 All Shook Up
2017 Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

Awards and Nominations

1996:     My Fair Lady                                Runner –Up Best Actor                                     Joe Donnellan
                                                                           Best Stage Manager                                           Michael Burke
1997:     Me and My Girl                            Best Actress                                                            Amanda Minihan

2002:     Guys and Dolls                            Best Comedienne                                                 Sinead O Sullivan

2003:      Sweet Charity                            Best Chorus                                                             C.M.S.
                                                                           Runner-Up Best Supporting Actor                 Brian Henry

2004:      Oklahoma                                    Runner-Up Best Voice                                         Feidhlim Hillery

2005:      My Fair Lady                               Runner-Up Best Supporting Actress             Phil O’Neill

2007:      Crazy For You                            Best Choreography                                              C.M.S.
                                                                           Runner-Up Best Visual                                        C.M.S.
                                                                           Runner-Up Best Overall Show                         C.M.S.

2008:      Singin’ in the Rain                    Runner-Up Best Choreography                      C.M.S. 

2009:      42nd Street                                 Best Choreography                                              C.M.S.
                                                                           Best Actress                                                        Hollie O’Donoghue

2010:      The Wiz                                         Runner-Up Best Musical Director                    Noel Lennon
                                                                           Best Choreography                                               C.M.S.
                                                                           Runner-Up Best House Management          C.M.S.

2011:       Hello Dolly                                   Best Ensemble – The Waiters Gallop           C.M.S.

2012:       West Side Story                        Best Choreography                                              C.M.S.
                                                                           Runner-Up Best Female Singer                      Jean Wallace
                                                                           Runner-Up Best Ensemble - Cool                   C.M.S

2013:      Copacabana                              Spirit of Aims Award                                             C.M.S.

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