Mrs Hegarty (nee McGuinness) passed away on Wednesday morning. It’s understood she had been ill for some time.
Maureen Hegarty, an acclaimed soprano, began her singing career with James MacCafferty’s Little Gaelic Sisters and toured the USA with them in 1958.
The tour included a performance on the ‘Ed Sullivan Show’ in New York City while, in Hollywood, they met Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney.
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Her solo career took off at Feis Doire Colmcille and, over the years, she won all the major singing titles at the annual Easter festival.
She then decided to swap competitive singing and focus on a concert career, performing across Ireland, Britain and the USA.
She took to the stage at an impressive array of concert venues including the Gaiety (Dublin), Boston Symphony Hall, Chicago Opera House and London’s Albert Hall.
She recorded alongside such luminaries as Josef Locke, Patrick O’Hagan, Pete St John, Brendan O’Dowda, Val Doonican, The Dubliners and The Chieftains.
Following an appearance with tenor Patrick O’Hagan on a 1974 BBC TV programme, Maureen Hegarty was given her own series, ‘Sounds Irish’.
In the 1960s, the heyday of the Derry pantomime, she regularly played either Principal Boy or Principal Girl in shows produced by James MacCafferty, Father Edward Daly, Don O’Doherty and Mary McLaughlin.
For years, she also sang at Mass at St Patrick’s Church, Pennyburn.