Fine Gael TD for Longford/Westmeath, Gabrielle McFadden, has said that a range of excellent initiatives to mark the life and works of Athlone’s famous son, John Count McCormack, gives due recognition to a man who was the most celebrated tenor of his era.
“It was an honour and a privilege to be in attendance at a special commemorative event on Friday last, October 24th, for what was a very historic occasion. During successive Athlone Town Councils, lots of good work had been invested in efforts to recognise the legendary status of John Count McCormack, who in his day was a global superstar in the world of music.
“Over a number of years as a councillor, I proposed and called for a dedicated exhibition for John McCormack and I’m now delighted that we have such an exhibition space at Athlone Castle commemorating the singer’s life and work.
“This exhibition area along with a magnificent new sculpture of the tenor by Rory Breslin, the new walkway tour devised by Gearóid O’Brien and the newly named John Count McCormack Square outside the Civic Offices marks the culmination of hard work by many people in Athlone and beyond.
“These initiatives not only duly recognise the legendary but from a tourism perspective, they are sure to attract more visitors to the town and increase footfall into the Castle.
“I believe all of this is the start of bigger and better things. In the long-term, I would like to see an expanded standalone John McCormack audio-visual centre along with a summer school and festival, which could incorporate a ‘Voice of Ireland’ international tenor competition.
“I’m very proud as the local TD that we are now finally paying due tribute to a man whose musical prowess will not only continue to enthral us but generations to come.”