Rob Donnelly from Avonmore Musical Society was returned to the top position as National President of AIMS (Association of Irish Musical Societies) following the National AGM held virtually via Zoom on Sunday 31st January, 2021.
A larger than normal number of people joined the Zoom meeting, as a result of COVID 19 and Level 5 Restrictions currently in place, which originally was to be held in the North of Ireland this year.
In his address Rob said “the last year 2020 wasn’t the year I was expecting as I’m sure it wasn’t for all of you and all of our societies. On the 26th of January 2020 I wrestled the AIMS Presidential Chain from Seamus Power in the Connacht Hotel in Galway. It hardly seems like a year ago. A strange year when so little and yet so much happened.”
Rob had just learned to drive back in 2019 and passed with flying colours ,so he could have the opportunity to be AIMS National President which he was elected to in January 2020. His little Red Peugeot 308 was fuelled up, overnight bag ready and he was ready to hit the road. And he did.
“It was the most amazing feeling travelling around Ireland representing AIMS, wearing the Chain with pride, visiting so many societies, meeting friends, making new friends and seeing all the wonderful shows. I would like to say a massive thank you to all societies for their kind invitations, the hospitality and the warm welcome and respect shown to me and the office of the Presidency. I thoroughly enjoyed all the shows and congratulate you all. I’m just so sorry that I didn’t get to see so many more. The standard of shows around the country north and south is improving year on year so a massive thanks you for all your efforts in growing and promoting musical theatre on the island of Ireland. I was so lucky to get to see 36 of our adjudicated shows last season. But then Covid struck.”
“On the 12th March everything stopped. We lost 50 shows from the AIMS Calendar. This was such a tough and heart breaking time for all those societies as we all know the hard work and dedication that goes into our productions. I think about them all regularly, all the many Committees, Production Teams, Casts, Stage Crews, Sound Technicians, Lighting Technicians, Set Designers & Builders, Hair & Make Up Teams, Costume Suppliers, Props Companies, Kitchen Crews, Front of House Teams, Audiences and the local communities who are so dependent on the wonderful entertainment that we provide every year.”
Unfortunately we didn’t get to Killarney for our Annual Sold Out Awards Weekend as a result of COVID and so the AIMS Awards were held virtually in Sept as a way to celebrate all the shows which did make it on stage last season and all the societies that will be back on stage again when circumstances permit.
Rob has been a member of Avonmore Musical Society since 1996 and nearly 25 years later still a member of the society and has now been returned as National President of the organisation that is AIMS. The society sends its warmest wishes and congratulations. Hopefully at some point soon he will get to travel around to see shows when it is safe to do so. It could be another difficult year, but asked people to keep positive “we will get there” and when we do “celebrate in style”
Being a part of a musical society is about so much more than the curtain going up, the bow at the end of the show. It’s about being part of something that we all give so much to but get so much from. It’s about hitting the right notes, getting the dance right, building confidence, fitness, community, about entertaining audiences, making memories and friendships that last much longer than when the curtain goes down.
Sadly the AIMS Awards Scheme for the 2020/21 season had to be cancelled but hopefully everyone will get back on stage for next season. It will be tough to get back but he asked people to continue to support one another as much as possible
We are all missing our wonderful pastime, it is challenging with the restrictions, the isolation, not seeing friends and family, but it has been heartwarming to see so many groups, individuals and organisations getting creative in keeping social, keeping distant and keeping everyone entertained.
“I’m so proud to be standing here as National President and being re-elected for a second term. I don’t take the position lightly. I promise to do my very best to represent the Association everywhere I go and help grow the love of Musical Theatre on this wonderful island of ours”