They’ve toured across the world and played for a president or two but for Derry priests Father Eugene and Martin O’Hagan, there’s no place like home.
The clerics, two-thirds of the internationally-renowned trio ‘The Priests’, will perform a Christmas concert in the Millennium Forum on Friday December 21. As well as singing much-loved songs such as ‘Ave Maria’, ‘Pie Jesu’ and ‘Amazing Grace’, the Priests will perform live for the very first time some of the most cherished seasonal songs of all time - everything from ‘Ding Dong Merrily On High’ to ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’, ‘Sussex Carol’ to ‘Silent Night’.
For Father Martin O’Hagan Christmas will be a time to spend a lovely evening in his home town - and Christmas Day with his father, who at 97 is tremendously proud of his sons.
“We’ve just spent three weeks in America so it has been intense,” he said. “We played 12 venues in 12 days from New York to Seattle to Boston.
“Now we are back in our parishes but looking forward to the Christmas music which will have a little something of everything for everyone. We’ve always had a mix but now we will have more sacred and secular music. There will be a real chemistry that will appeal to all music appetites.”
And while he had to be pushed to name his own favourite Christmas tune, Father Martin said he has a soft spot for ‘O Holy Night’ which he says is an “uplifting and majestic piece.”
Christmas Day for the O’Hagans will be spent with their Dad who still lives in Derry.
“He’s a marvellous man,” said Father Martin. “Last year he got to see us in concert and he refused to leave until the very end. I don’t think he will be able to make it this year but we keep him informed of everything we are doing.”
As Derry prepares to take its place on the world stage, Father Martin says he hopes The Priests will have their own part to play in the City of Culture celebrations.
“For all the years we’ve been performing we have promoted our home town. People are always intrigued about Derry. It’s a special place to us because it’s where are roots are and our home.
“City of Culture will inject enthusiasm and will show the world the talents and gifts on offer here. People will come together and be given a real lift.”
But it’s not all work and no play. A couple of weeks ago, The Priests were honoured to be invited as guests to Hillsborough Castle to attend a gathering in honour of Ireland’s President McAleese, to mark the end of her term of office.
CHRISTMAS WITH THE PRIESTS 2012 will take place at The Millennium Forum on Friday 21st December
Tickets are available from the Box Office on 028 7126 4455. Online @ www.millenniumforum.co.uk