Wednesday, 1st August 2012
SPRAOI has created some magic memories for the past 20 years that has resulted in fun, frolics, eternal friendships and even a few marriages.
This year sees Spraoi return to the night time parade, "Light of My Life", which will entertain tens of thousands on the city’s streets on Saturday evening of this bank holiday weekend.
At the Carrickpherish-based studio in recent days, some Spraoi stalwarts took a brief break from their hard labours to reminisce about their memorable moments in the past 20 years.
Dermot Quinn, Artistic Director who has "more-or-less" been working with Spraoi since the beginning, popped the question to his wife atop a cherry picker in 1998.
"My wife, Sarah, was working with Spraoi since a couple of years after me. She was a Financial Controller with Spraoi and she left about five years back.
"We met through a Spraoi event called Darkwood in 1996. But then in 1998, we were on top of a cherry picker and we were getting something down and I said, ‘Aw look, it’s time to drop the knee’, I said,’ You won’t get a better chance anyway’."
"All the lads were down below shouting up at us. But she said ‘Yes’ anyway; she’s probably still regretting it."
"We have two kids now...they’re normally in the parade but they’re going to give it a miss this year because they want to watch it."
"There’s a bit of a matchmaking thing going on with Spraoi," added Dermot.
Michael Leahy, who has been with the company since the very start and is also Artistic Director, met his wife Edel through Spraoi.
"I met my wife, Edel, through Spraoi. She was a drummer, originally. We were down on the Quay one night and I spotted her one night coming in.
"And, low and behold, years-and-years later we’re together. We have three children."
Clare Horgan, Spraoi’s Costume Designer who has been working with the organisation for some 17 years, spoke of one overriding memory from Spraoi over the years.
"That year it rained and rained," said Clare. The parade during the 1997, entitled Sleepstealers, was one of two Spraoi parades where it rained incessantly.
"I was there about three years at the time. We had to postpone the parade and put it on the next night."However, it rained again heavily the following night.
"We said, ‘We’ll go ahead anyway’ when it started to rain again. Just when we came around the corner at Michael Street and John Street, we saw a huge crowd with umbrellas. They had been waiting for hours.
"I teared up and I tear up now at the thought of it," said Clare. "But my heart leaped at the reaction; the dogged determination for them to be a part of it – such as warm swell of support. It was fabulous.
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