Angel Barney We Heard Up | News, Sports, Jobs


Our sixth European Woodbury Chorale and Bell Ringers tour of Ireland was drawing to a close. We sang for morning mass and played an evening concert at St. Mary’s Anglican Church in Killarney.

We performed during the Saturday evening mass in the Church of the Resurrection, also in Killarney. We had raised over $ 1,500 for the “Chernobyl Children’s Fund”; a fund to bring children from the Russian nuclear disaster town to Ireland for a two-week summer vacation.

Sunday morning we had performed in front of a packed church for 12 noon mass in Blarney. After church, some of the group kissed the Blarney Stone! On Tuesday at 1.15pm we did a full concert in the famous Christ Cathedral in Dublin. The choir and the bells played beautifully.

We received standing ovations and wonderful compliments everywhere we played. I also had the opportunity to consult on several magnificent organs. Everything was going according to plan.

Until … here I must mention that we had several “Material repetitions” just before we left home. From previous experiences I knew that sometimes “implement” the time before a traveling concert can be hectic (small spaces and little time).

Various members have been given specific tasks. Everything had worked like clockwork until now. Just before morning mass in St. Eunan’s Cathedral in Letterkenny, one of our members tried to be helpful by doing something he had not been assigned or trained for. He plugged an amplifier cable into the wrong jack. There was a loud crackle, sparks erupted and I knew we were in big trouble.

Our amplifier, the heart of our audio system and power for our electric keyboard, was dead. Praise be to God, the church had an old upright piano that was in pretty good condition, and it was even tuned. It was the only church piano we saw on our entire trip.

We sang for the morning mass, then it was time for problem solving. For the evening concert, we could get by with the borrowed upright piano, but some of our music needed the special sounds that our keyboard was able to give.

I asked if there was a repair shop in town that “maybe” could fix our amp. There was, so we went to the store. A very friendly and very helpful gentleman looked at our amp and determined that he did not have the necessary parts he would need to fix it, and that they were not available anywhere else in town. Also, it would take too long to get to Galway, if the parts could be found there; and besides, it was Saturday and all the electronics stores were closing at noon.

What to do?

Return to the church. Mary Ellen, the wonderful secretary of the church, came to our aid. She knew a man from the congregation, Barney, who played the accordion in one of the many local pubs. He had his own amplifier. Maybe we could use it for the evening concert?

She called him and he agreed. He said he would bring it later in the afternoon. Marvellous! However, there were more issues to be resolved. We were to sing for two services in the Cathedral Sanctuary of Knock, a huge church with a capacity of 7,500 places. We would end our tour with a mass, mini concert and organ solo in the famous Galway Cathedral.

After spending a lot of time on the phone, I was able to work things out for both Knock departments. We could tap into their sound system. Galway remained a problem.

It was a weekend; and besides, there was no way (with all the stores closed) that we could borrow an amplifier from a local music store.

Return to Barney. I knew it was difficult “to sell,” but we had no other choice. I thanked him for his help and then, in my most humble voice, asked him for the last favor I had left. Would he allow us to take his amp to Galway on the bus in the morning, use it for the concert and then return it to him, by taxi if necessary, after the concert?

Poor Barney. Part of him wanted to help us so badly, but the other part, the more practical part, said “no.” He told me that on weekends he played in local pubs and that the income from those concerts largely paid for his weekly living expenses. I understood well. You do not lend valuable equipment to a group of strangers, even if “He knew we were nice people and that we would take really good care of his amp.” But it involved his livelihood. I told him I got it, thanked him again for letting us use the amp and said “Good evening.”

One of the choir members asked, “What are we going to do? What can we do?”

I answered, “Everyone prays like you’ve never prayed before, and I will do the same. “ Remember the line of “The sound of music”. “Sometimes when God closes a door, he opens a window. “

That night, after a tumultuous day, I was able to hand the problem over to the Almighty, for whom nothing is impossible.

I slept soundly, knowing the problem was in better hands than mine. The next morning we loaded both buses, had breakfast and finished our call, making sure no one was left behind.

Just as our driver started to pull away from the curb, someone shouted, “Hey, Gerrit, look. There is Barney! Sure enough, there was Barney’s little van pulling up next to the bus, and there was Barney, Angel Barney, carrying his amp.

As I ran to him he said: “I couldn’t sleep last night and talked to my wife about it and we both agreed to let you use the amp.”

He also explained that he had called our bus driver and that they had arranged that, right after the concert, our driver would bring the amp to the local bus station; and a few hours later the amp was back with its owner.

That morning we all learned something very important. Angels don’t always fly… sometimes they drive small vans. Remember, God answers all prayers, giving us what we need, and sometimes He even gives us what we ask for.

And it’s not Blarney!

EDITOR’S NOTE: Gerrit Lamain is a former Copper Country resident who served as a music teacher at Suomi College. He has published a book, “Gerrit’s Notes: A compilation of essays,” which can be found on Amazon. His email address is [email protected]

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