By Jimmy Rhatigan
HE IS one of the true gentlemen of our local entertainment scene that knows no bounds when it comes to kindness, generosity, respect and camaraderie.
It would be foolhardy to even attempt to draw up any League of Gentlemen and Ladies who have been part of local music, song and dance for over half a century.
The reality is that we have a collection of amazingly talented people who play for love and at times a little bit of money and their devotion and dedication to good causes has made them one of our finest local communities.
Michael ‘Mog’ O’Grady is perhaps the king of a super clan of people whose loyalty to their native place and the many charities therein are nothing short of legendary.
Fellow musicians and singers from all over Kilkenny City and County and further afield come together shortly to pay tribute to one of our great keyboard players who tickled the ivory as he brought joy to thousands over half a century.
Now a pensioner, Michael has retired from his one time day job as a third level lecturer and he no longer graces a local stage where he played with the finest and most talented.
The respect he enjoys from his fellows will be manifested on March 2 when many of those he shared a stage with come together to pay tribute to a loving husband and father.
And in the true spirit of philanthropy, Michael will donate the entire proceeds of his big night to the coffers of the Kilkenny branch of the Irish Wheelchair Association.
On March 2 in The Set at Langton’s, John Street, the promise is of a spectacular night of entertainment where musicians and singers from many eras combine for a explosion of musical splendour that will give a huge Kilkenny welcome to the man who is affectionately known as Mog, his wife Proinnsiasa and daughter Muireann.
Tickets, €10, are available from Langton’s and doors open at 8.30pm for a 9pm curtain up.
Originally from Dean Cavanagh Place, Michael now lives in Meadow Hill.
He played the keyboard with many local bands. His big chance came 50 years ago when his then neighbour, another wonderful gentleman of music, Jim Cantwell invited him to join the Nomads.
Mog moved on with Jim to the Jim Cantwell Big Band and with Brendan Ryder, a colleague from the Nomads, Tweed was formed.
He left Tweed in 1974 and headed to Birmingham, England to study industrial design.
He completed his studies and went on to lecture in industrial design in Carlow Institute of Technology for 33 years.
During those years, he played with Contraband, Fly By Night, Reel To Reel, The 5teh Degree, David O’Darby and Jigs and Power.
Michael is no longer active on the band scene He was a treasure when it came to playing for local charities and he continues to enjoy a fond place in our greater family of music.
Entertainers in The Set will include The Backyard Band, featuring Brendan Ryder and Gay Brazel of Tweed, Reel to Reel, Billy Barron’s Contraband, Andy Murray and WIllie Maher from The 5th Degree, Rory Broderick, John GI Brennan, Mick Kinsella and Pat Ryan..
Master of ceremonies will be Pat Holland, a star of stage and brass band music.
Let the session begin.