SINGING FROM THE HEART Pictured are the members of the Ballinrobe Musical Society who have lent their voices to the fundraising record.
Ballinrobe Musical Society sing for Lily-Mae
Eleven members of Ballinrobe Musical Society, along with members of other musical societies around the country, have their sights firmly set on being this year’s Christmas No 1.
A Song for Lily-Mae – a group of over 200 people, including musicians Paddy Casey, Declan O’Rourke and Mundy – recorded Elton John’s song ‘Tiny Dancer’. to raise funds for four-year-old Lily-Mae Morrison, who is critically ill.
Lily-Mae’s parents Judith Sibley and Leighton Morrison, self-employed dancers and choreographers from Claregalway, were told last summer their daughter had neuroblastoma, a dangerous and aggressive form of cancer that affects the nervous systems of one in 100,000 children.
In order to raise money for the Sunni-Mae Trust, which will help with Lily-Mae’s treatment costs, a family friend, Stephen Macken came up with the idea of recording a song.
Speaking to The Mayo News about the campaign, Macken explains how it all came about.
“I had a call from Judith last June telling me about Lily-Mae’s diagnosis. I immediately thought of how I could help and how I could use my skill-set,” said the RTÉ cameraman.
Having performed in musicals from a young age, Macken set about using his vast network of musical contacts.
Macken described his relationship with Ballinrobe Musical Society as ‘particularly close’. “I’ve attended all their shows for the last ten years and got to know all the cast and crew.
The song was recorded on September 30 in the Black Box Galway, with Ballinrobe native Paddy Daly acting as chorus master.
Stephen describes the moment a special guest arrived. “I said there was one more person joining us. I told everyone I’d like to introduce them to the reason they were all there, and Lily-Mae was carried in by her father,” explained Macken.
Also speaking to The Mayo News, Ballinrobe Musical Society secretary Edel O’Neill described the day as ‘amazing’. “There wasn’t a sound in the place when Lily-Mae came in. It was so special. The whole day was so worth it and we all really bonded,” explained the society secretary.
Elton John’s support
The song reached number one on the iTunes chart when it was launched last Friday, Stephen and the members of Ballinrobe Musical Society are hoping to make A Song for Lily-Mae’s ‘Tiny Dancer’ a Christmas No 1.
Sir Elton John himself publicised the song last week by adding it to his YouTube playlist and placing an appeal on his website. He also sent out messages on his Twitter and Facebook accounts. The singer is urging his fanbase to like the video on YouTube, like A Song for Lily Mae’s Facebook page (www.facebook.com/asongforlilymae), and, most importantly, to buy the song on iTunes. With backing like that, there is every chance the dream of making Little Dancer a Christmas No 1 will come true.
A Song for Lily Mae ‘Tiny Dancer’ is available on iTunes for 99 cents. Ballinrobe Musical Society members will also be selling CDs of the song.