St Johnston and Carrigans Donegal



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The Choir, St Baithin's Church, St Johnston

Frank McGurk was the organist at St Baithin's from the late seventies until the early nineties including the period in the former Duffy’s/Houston’s Supermarket and in the renovated Chapel on the day of the re-dedication. During this time, they didn't have a choir director, as such. They played and sang whatever hymns upon which they agreed.

Mrs Sally McGinty joined the choir about from about the mid-eighties until about the mid-nineties and was the choir director. It was Sally who introduced women and girls back into the choir. It was during her time, that the choir moved from the transept to where it sits to this day, behind the altar. Sally McGinty was then followed by Maureen McLaughlin.

After Frank’s time as organist, he was succeeded by Padraig McGinty, currently managing director of North West Hearing & Mobility, Letterkenny - Dungloe- Sligo, and then, after Padraig, came Siobhan Peoples.

Mrs Ethel White who ran the choir in years gone by was long dead at this stage. In fact, after a long illness, she died in February 1982. Her time in the choir would have ended around the late sixties, after which there was no choir at all, until the late seventies, when the choir was resurrected by a group of men, including Joe Peoples, Bobby McNulty, Willie Houston, George Friel, Joe Coll, Brendan Coll, Hughie Dillon, with Frank as organist.

They managed to adapt an old style pedal organ, by connecting a Hoover vacuum cleaner to it, which substituted for the pedal action. Although effective to a certain degree, it was quite comical at the time, with each hymn being preceded with the whirrrrr of the Hoover starting up. During the church renovations of 1980/81, Frank used an electronic organ of his own in the Supermarket. When Masses and services resumed in the Church in 1982, the choir had an influx of new members and with the purchase of a new organ, they moved to a position behind the altar where the choir remains to this day.