Rehearsing with event manager Deirdre O‘Mahony, alto Eileen Keedy, bass Tom Beresford and tenor AnneMarie O’Brien for their sold out 10th anniversary concert ‘Bravo’ in Cork Opera House on Sunday October 20th is the passion behind the concert, founder and Musical Director of Cór Geal Betty Fitzgerald.
Betty, who was nominated as a Blarney person of the month for her charitable and altruistic works, has been an active community musician in Whitechurch since her early twenties. The church organist in St Patrick’s Church, Whitechurch for the last 35 years she accompanies the choir for the weekly Sunday mass and all Easter and Christmas ceremonies, whilst also teaching music in the local primary school. During the 1980’s Betty was musical director for all Whitechurch Macra na Feirme Light Entertainment shows, culminating in Whitechurch Macra winning the All-Ireland Light Entertainment Final in 1988 at the Cork Opera House. Over the years, Betty has always been available to provide musical accompaniment for local events such as senior citizens parties, local celebrations and fundraisers. In 1996, Denis O’Brien, volunteer Development Manager for Foróige, came up with the idea of producing a carol service in Whitechurch. Betty jumped at the challenge and for the past 23 years, she has produced and co-ordinated this annual community event, which involves approximately 150 local singers and musicians, including Cór Geal which she founded in 2009, and children from Whitechurch Primary School. It has raised many thousands of euro for charity and attracts an audience from far and wide, contributing to the community spirit and is a source of great pride for the people in the area.
Not one to rest on her laurels, Betty is currently studying for Masters in Music Education in Trinity College, Dublin. “I have always been passionate about music education for both children and adults, and have constantly strived to improve my teaching methods. I feel very fortunate to be able to study for a masters. For me it is the culmination of my life’s work as a professional musician and it provides me with an opportunity to make my contribution to the whole area of music education in Ireland”.