It’s only a couple of weeks since Noel Treacy took his place among the chorus for Carrick-on-Suir Musical Society’s 90th production, ‘That’s Entertainment’. It’s a role he filled more than anybody else in the Society’s distinguished history.
His recent presence in the Strand Theatre brought the North Quay resident’s contribution to Carrick productions, stretching back as far as 1946, to 88: a staggering, magnificent achievement.
Like his many friends involved in the show, and by God that list was lengthy, Noel was looking forward to the AIMS Choral Festival in New Ross on May 23rd.
Sadly, just hours before the Society took to the stage at Saint Michael’s Theatre, Noel passed away at Saint Joseph’s Hospital, Clonmel (not WRH as erroneously edited in last week’s edition) having taken ill the previous evening. To his family and friends, his sudden passing came as a great shock.
However, there must be great consolation for Noel’s family in the manner that he lived his life, virtually right up to the moment of his passing.
As Father Richard Geoghegan noted during his homily at Saint Nicholas’s Church on Tuesday week last (May 26th), Noel blessedly didn’t have to endure a lengthy spell in hospital or prolonged poor health. For this was a life that was truly well lived and enjoyed over the past 82 years.
That Noel sold fuel for a living over several decades was apt given the manner in which he lived his life: he was a true dynamo, a man of boundless energy, enthusiasm and good humour. Whatever he had in the nosebag, the rest of us wanted in on!
Turning 65 was of little consequence in the greater scheme of things for Noel Treacy – he just got with living and got on with contributing to his community, a place he was immensely proud of.
Be it the Musical Society, Castleview Tennis Club, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul or the Ashpark Village Project, Noel’s commitment to each was total.
Even when to the fore of a group, as he was with the Tennis Club for over 60 years, Noel never sought the limelight; that was never his way.
He was a great believer in strength-in-numbers and he exemplified that spirit through his presence in the Musical Society’s chorus ever since his debut appearance in the 1946 production of ‘The Gondoliers’.
Any musical worth its salt is the culmination of a great collaborative effort. If a show has a great leading line and a poor chorus, the overall quality of the show suffers greatly; the same is also true when the scenario is reversed.
In other words, you can’t have one without the other and in Noel Treacy; the Society possessed a magnificent link in a chain that superbly endures.
Noel was a wonderful raconteur, the perfect companion with whom to shoot the breeze during a break in rehearsal or a show time interval. How odd those times will now seem without both Noel and John Stuart, great rocks upon which the Society’s reputation was built upon.
During ‘That’s Entertainment’, the revival in Waterford United’s fortunes came into Noel’s conversational sphere, the prospect of better times for the Blues in 2009 prompted him to recall the club’s glory days in the 1960s.
Noel was among the thousands who filtered into Lansdowne Road for the historic European Cup meeting of Waterford FC and Manchester United in 1968, the very first soccer match to be played there.
Trips to Old Trafford, Lansdowne Road and Wimbledon, along with the theatres of Ireland and the West End of London were among the great social highlights of Noel Treacy’s life. He loved to share a tale or two about those experiences and there was always a grateful listening ear nearby.
It’s difficult not to ponder on the irony of the opening number of ‘That’s Entertainment’ in the context of Noel’s passing.
“Golden moments soon speed away, so let’s live love and laugh while we may” – so goes a line from ‘Die Fldermaus’ by the great Johann Strauss.
And how well those words sum up the life of Noel Treacy, a life laced with golden moments as a devoted husband, loving father, devoted grandfather and loyal friend.
A life full of love and laughter, sport and song, Noel’s legacy to Carrick-on-Suir will happily and lovingly endure. Ar dheis Dé go raibh a hanam dílis.