Padraig Connaughton singing O Sole Mio in Galway
In celebration of the first The Three Sopranos Summer Gala tour, each concert will feature a John Murray Show listener, selected through the programme's 'Sing with the Sopranos Search', singing the popular Neapolitan song O Sole Mio on stage with the three sopranos and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra. Garage service manager and part-time sheep farmer Padraig Connaughton from Loughrea, Co Galway is one of the four RTÉ Radio 1 listeners selected through the John Murray Show programme. Each of the four singers is being coached in advance by one or more of the singers and all four recently joined the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the three sopranos at the National Concert Hall for their first rehearsal. Following the first rehearsal on stage at the National Concert Hall, Padraig admitted to being 'blown away by the sound from the full orchestra and the three sopranos when singing on stage with them.'
Padraig is being coached by the internationally in-demand soprano, Celine Byrne. Through a remarkable series of events, in recent months, Celine has discovered family relatives in Co Galway, so this opportunity to work with Padraig is one that means a lot to her. Celine, through her Grandmother's stepbrother, Major General Kevin Murphy, now living in Galway, has traced family connections to the Quinn family in Tuam whose family owned pub, The Rustic Vaults, has been part of the Tuam community for over 100 years.
Padraig Connaughton is a service manager in Leahy's Garage in Loughrea and a part-time sheep farmer who claims that he sings to his sheep to bring them in. The son of Leonard and Lucy Connaughton, Padraig lives in Clostoken, Loughrea with his wife Helena and their baby daughter Clara who was born in March. Music has always been a big part of Padraig's life. For some years, he performed with the West Coast Big Band in Galway. Speaking about this opportunity to sing with the three sopranos and the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra, Padraig says that, 'to sing with an orchestra anywhere would be a dream and it would be a great thing for my little girl to hear in a few years that her old man was a singer and not just a man who works in a garage and farms'. Padraig celebrates his 40th birthday on 12 June and has said that his appearance with the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the three sopranos in the tour opening in Galway on Wednesday 5 June will be 'one very special early birthday present'