The Society Revived
Early in 1995 Count Johnn McCormack, Donal McNally, Liam Breen
and a few friends dined together in the QV.2 restaurant in Andrew Street. Their
sole purpose was to revive the defunct John McCormack Society which was founded
exactly thirty-five years earlier to foster a love of the art of the renowned
Liam Breen was talked into becoming its Life President, and it was decided to hold a number of recitals that year to mark the golden jubilee of McCormack's death.
The enthusiasm among former members for the revival soon became apparent - they had clearly missed the recitals and the bonhomie that had become part of them. Dermot McDevitt was appointed hon. secretary and Joe Clarke the treasurer. Subsequently a series of gramophone recitals were held in the spacious downstairs room in the QV.2 and attracted fine attendances.
Needless to say, Liam Breen's recital, devoted solely to John McCormack, was the highlight of the season, with the genial Co. Wexford man playing a selection of the tenor's published and unpublished records. He punctuated his recital with amusing anecdotes about John and Lily McCormack and also played a few of this own McCormack favourites, including the appealing Handel aria "O Sleep, why dost Thou Leave Me."
IN retrospect, the first President of the John McCormack Society was Lily McCormack and Liam Breen remembers her giving an enjoyable gramophone recital to members, ' Lily's Dublin accent was pronouced and before she'd play a record by John she'd say a few brief words about it. She always referred to him as "her John". Count Cyril McCormack became the society's first patron and his sister Gwen also took a keen interest in our affairs. The society were determined to keep his father's memory alive and at the same time put strong pressure on record companies to re-issue John's finest recordings. In time, this object was achieved, so that today you can purchase the best of his singing on Compact Disc.
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