Oh daahlings, I’m going to be an Oscars.. sorry, Oskars star!

John Arnold tells us about a major fundraiser in his local parish
Oh daahlings, I’m going to be an Oscars.. sorry, Oskars star!

Bride Rovers GAA Cub ‘Oskars’ Committee, Michael Carey, Club Runai, Pa O’Driscoll, Club Chairman, Evelyn Murphy, Bridgee Forde, Aiden Dorgan, Club Cisteoir

FUNDRAISING for voluntary organisations and sports clubs has always been problematic.

From the year dot, ingenuity has had to be used as treasurers everywhere sought to raise and ‘mind’ scarce financial resources.

When our Hurling Club was formed in 1928, it was agreed at the very first meeting that both members and players would subscribe 1d (a penny ) a week to swell the club coffers - the long-demolished Bartlemy Bandroom was hired out as a Club Hall at one shilling a week from Mike Leary. A few years later, for a ‘Christmas Drawing’, the first prize was a goose! Ah yes, truly the light of other days alright.

Down the decades, innovative methods of bringing in cash were always pursued. The ‘hardy annuals’ like church gate collections, 45 drives, all-night dances, concerts, calf-rearing, carnivals and the ever-popular hurling tournaments all had their day.

I think that two Corkmen more than any others were to the fore in urging GAA clubs to buy their own pitches in order to have ‘a home of their own’. Yes indeed, Con Murphy here on Leeside and Kilnamartyra native Sean O Siochain at national level were instrumental in preaching the value of putting down ‘roots’ in every parish.

The Irish National Lottery began in 1986 but by then hundreds of GAA clubs had bought and developed their own grounds -with no state aid, grants or loans.

I recall back in the 1970s when our club decided to buy a field and borrow over £25,000, some thought ‘twould be the end of us and we’d never, ever be able to pay it back! A house-to-house collection raised over half the money in less than a year.

Last year, we decided to set about obtaining land for three further pitches - the total cost of the development will probably be close to €700,000. In 1928, our Founding Officers were Dan Barry NT - Chairman, Pat Foley - Vice-Chairmen, Tom Barry NT - Secretary, and Jim Roche - treasurer. Dan Barry NT died at the very young age of 24 in 1930.

I am absolutely certain that those four men who guided our club on its first tethering steps would be so proud of the work going on today.

Earlier this year, a quintet of club members put their collective heads together to come up with a really major fundraiser in an effort to raise serious cash. About a month ago - before any official announcement - a ‘little birdie’ tipped me off to be getting ready to play a role in a film production that was being looked at.

I’d heard of Strictly Come Dancing nights and Dancing With The Stars events, but the concept of ‘A Night At The Oskars’ was new to me.

Forewarned is forearmed, they say, so I decided to steal a march on other wannabe film stars in our club. The first ever ‘musical film’ I saw was The Sound Of Music and I was smitten - not just by Julie Andrews but by the whole story of the film. I know that the real Von Trapp family story has been changed a good deal to make it ‘fit’ in the film, but that never lessened my admiration for it.

The song Edelweiss - well, I never fail to shed a tear when I hear it, especially ever since the death of Christopher Plummer just two years ago. That final line, ‘bless my homeland forever’ always gets me.

Yes, like many I thought for years that it had been ‘adopted’ as the National Anthem of Austria - not so, apparently.

Though I can’t play the guitar, I spent February and March strumming away and - even if I say so myself - I felt I was a very likeable, authentic and plausible Captain Von Trapp!

I learned that the Oskars project involves the actual filming and production of seven mini-films (well-known classics of the silver screen) on location here around the parish. Roughly one hundred ‘actors’ from the membership of the Bride Rovers Club and friends will be taking part.

On the Gala Night in the Rochestown Park Hotel on May 26, awards for Best Grossing Film, Best Actor/Actress and Best Supporting stars, Best Production, Most Entertaining Film, and so on will be presented.

Well, in eager anticipation of being Bartlemy’s Captain Von Trapp, I had ordered an authentic costume together with real lederhosen britches - the works! Imagine, then, my disappointment last week, ahead of Saturday night’s cast announcement when I was told that The Sound Of Music was not to be one of the magnificent seven- shocked I was, and distraught.

But, never one to throw in the towel, my determination to land a classic film role was undimmed. My Plan B was simple - surely they’d be going for Gone With The Wind?

The filming isn’t for three weeks which would give me adequate time to cultivate a Rhett Butler-type moustache.

Lads, last week I must have practised my favourite line a thousand times. When a heifer or cow kicked me in the milking parlour or a young calf cut my finger with those razor-sharp teeth, my stoic response was ‘Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn’!

O, who would be my Vivien Leigh, sorry I mean Scarlett O Hara? It didn’t really matter as I felt my accent and moustache growing ability were par excellence. As for my likeness to Rhett Butler, well I was once compared to the Gable end wall of a stall!

Well, feck it, says I, when the seven film titles were eventually released -the Third Secret of Fatima wasn’t half as well guarded - and again no sign of Gone With The Wind.

I was deflated a bit and after a supper of mushrooms and onions on Friday night, it was a case of The Sound of Wind Going! Best foot forward, stiff upper lip and all that, so I hid my disappointment at my double-deflation and awaited my filmatic future with trepidation.

With seven films and seven ‘casts’, the parish will be buzzing from now ‘til the end of May. Each ‘film’ is seeking sponsorship from all-comers.

Coffee mornings, scrap collections, hen nights, fashion shows, variety concerts, card drives, bring and buy sales, sponsorship cards and sacred silences are just some of the myriad of mini fundraisers planned for the next few weeks - all donations welcome!

The seven chosen films announced and now in rehearsal are The Snapper, Michael Collins, Sister Act, Braveheart, Fr Ted - Speed, The Field and Bridesmaids. There are fixed Monday night slots for full-scale rehearsals but some casts are already doing 7am practising gigs.

At least 45 cast members have taken holidays in preparation for what could well be a life-changing career move if an Oskar Award Statuette is won on the night.

Accommodation in Cork city and surrounds is at a premium for the last weekend in May, as relatives, in-laws and out-laws are planning to come and view what should be a superb cinematic experience.

What makes it all so special is the huge number participating - many making their stage debuts and entering enthusiastically into a project to provide facilities for so many in the future.

Oh yes, you may well ask, ‘What about yours truly?’ - well, yes, I actually got a part, a role that I certainly didn’t expect.

All will be revealed in May - so, to all taking part, ‘break a leg’.

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