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  OBITUARY  

December 1998

 

 Coastweek   Kenya


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EDDIE CORCORAN - PRIEST
WITH A MUSICAL LEGACY

Fr. Eddie also wrote 'History of the
Catholic Church in Coast Province'

Coastweek - - The passing of Father Eddie Corcoran, the singing priest, brought to an end more than 40 years of devoted priestly and social service.

He was the founder and moving force behind the Swinging Stars, the Mombasa Singers and, in more recent times, the Swinging Islanders, whose performances reflected how truly a musical priest he was.

But Fr. Eddie was first of all a priest.

Practically all the many productions he staged had a religious theme.

Yet the man did all this in such an inoffensive and diplomatic manner that a varied audience and choirs appreciated his creations.

Fr. Eddie had charisma.

He was greatly talented, not only in music, but also in preaching, teaching, administration as well as in many other fields.

His life was spent mostly among teenagers.

He understood them and they responded to his lively and outgoing ways. In company, Fr. Eddie shone.

He was a great conversationalist and had an appropriate joke for any topic.

Our history goes back to 1968 when Fr. Eddie Corcoran and Miss Yvette de Souza formed a joint St. Mary's Kwale, and Star of the Sea School Choir.

Until 1972 they gave a number of very successful Variety Concerts.

They were disbanded in 1972 when Fr. Eddie was transferred to St. George's High School, Giriama.

In 1974 a galant band of eighteen girls from Star of the Sea persuaded Fr. Eddie to take them under his wing, and from then till 1980 they were famous for their professional productions of Musicals such as "Joseph's Amazing Technicolour Dream Coat", "Fiddler on the Roof", "Mikado", "Smike" and "The Sound of Music".

Then Fr. Eddie was packed off to Rome and given an extra large secretarial desk.

On his return to Mombasa in 1983, a new choir, now open to other schools besides "Star", was founded.

They called themselves "The Swinging Islanders".

From then up to 1994 they produced many more musicals, this time concentrating on Biblical Themes - "It's Cool in the Furnace", "A Story Telling Man", "Dan n' de Lion", and "His Name is Life" just to mention some.

The highlight of this period was without doubt "The Pirates of Mtwapa Creek", full of witty references to Mombasa and its people.

To go through Fr. Eddie's various appointments and assignments would be tedious. 

However, it must be said that he was the first rector of St. Mary's Seminary, Kwale.

He was also in Rome serving as secretary-general of the Holy Ghost Fathers throughout the world while, more recently, he served as Chaplain to the Kenya Navy.

Fr. Eddie had 'History of the Catholic Church in the Coast Province' to his credit.

A poignant, though happy thought, is that as Fr. Eddie lay practically motionless on his intensive-care hospital bed last year, the Swinging Islanders were staging for him his final show, "From Bethlehem to Broadway.

The young ladies have not given up: They are back full spirit with a "Tribute to Fr. Eddie Corcoran", a mixture of his best hits and carols.

That will be at Loreto Convent on December 18, 19, and 20, 1998.

Come and be blessed with the Sound of Music.

Special thanks to all those who have supported us at this time, especially the Alliance Hotels, Coastweek, Coca-Cola and Southern Cross Safaris to mention but a few.

The aims of these choirs has been to give young people the chance to sing their hearts out with good melodic music, to bring happiness to themselves and their audiences and to help Mombasa's needy people with the proceeds from these concerts.

Father Tom Baron and Judy Oyaro, Mombasa.

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