Fr O’Hagan all set for a festive homecoming

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Deanfield-native and a third part of the classical music phenomenon, The Priests, Fr Martin O’Hagan, can’t wait to bring the curtain down on what’s been another whirlwind year with a hometown gig on December 21 in the Millennium Forum.

Fr O’Hagan will be joined by his brother Fr Eugene O’Hagan and Ballymena-man Fr David Delargy, for the special festive concert.

Ahead of the gig, he told the Sentinel, how it was his late Londonderry mammy Joan, who first inculcated a love of music that would eventually propel the brothers to worldwide stardom.

“My mother was the catalyst who really encouraged us to take an interest in music as boys,” said Fr O’Hagan.

“Then at Garron Tower [St MacNissi’s College] when we were at school, Sister Gertrude and Fr McKavanagh were very big influences.

“I had further training with Mr [Frank] Capper, a vocal tutor from Belfast and then in Rome too but it all started in Derry.”

He says it’s still hard to take in the amazing journey he and his colleagues have been on for the best part of a decade now.

“It has been a rollercoaster ride since 2008, I suppose. We’ve been on the go since then and quite unexpectedly, what we had planned as a UK release, became something that was really global.”

Has it been difficult getting the balance between his international commitments and his priestly vocation right?

“It dovetails beautifully with the priesthood. It’s about getting an equilibrium. We have three different parishses and three different diaries. So we can only take two to three weeks off at a time, which we did for the tour in America this year but otherwise we have maybe around 10 concerts dotted through the year, which isn’t too hard to fit in,” says Fr O’Hagan.

After the Christmas gig, at which audiences will be treated to classics such as Ave Maria, Pie Jesu, Amazing Grace, Ding Dong Merrily On High, O Come All Ye Faithful and Silent Night, there’s more good news for fans.

“We’ve received the great news that we have the funding available and we’ll be workiing on that which will hopefully be on the way in the Spring, please God,” he said.

And what’s on a classical musical star’s own playlist incidentally?

“I like a bit of jazz, easy listening, Ludovico Einaudi. I like traditional music. Irish music. I’m also intrigued by a lot of modern composers, Karl Jenkins, baroque-era classical music but I also like a lot of the new pop groups. Adele, I think has great passion, and she has a wonderful voice.”

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