Scottish mass interrupted by nearby panto

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A MASS at a Scots church was disrupted when the priest’s trendy new radio mike picked up a nearby panto.

Parishioners at St Margaret’s RC Memorial Church in Dunfermline, Fife, cracked “He’s behind you!” jokes when the jaunty pantomime song burst through the loudspeakers.

Father Chris Heenan was left with little choice but to switch off the system and shout the rest of his sermon.

Investigations showed that a glitch with the church microphone had tuned it in to the same frequency being used by radio mikes at the panto.

 

The unwelcome interruption came from the nearby Carnegie Hall where families were enjoying the performance of Hansel and Gretel.

Father Heenan had just pronounced the words “Holy Spirit” when he was drowned out by the panto cast.

The 43-year-old priest said: “We just had the new sound system installed. It sounded great in testing.”

He admitted tests on the clip-on mike had picked up “two people” talking but assumed they would have no “Spinal Tap” moment at the Saturday mass last month.

He said: “It happened just at the beginning, just after I said, ‘In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.’

“The next thing we knew was the panto song came across the radio.

“It was very loud, we had to switch it off and I had to shout.

“I could see people giggling about it in the front rows.”

 

Father Heenan recalled a funeral service 18 years ago which was interrupted by a supermarket announcer.

Investigations showed that a glitch with the church microphone had tuned it in to the same frequency being used by radio mikes at the panto.

Father Heenan added: “It was down to faulty part. We’ve replaced it and now there’s no more “He’s behind you!” or “Oh no he’s not” jokes.

“People were quite good-humoured about it.”

Remarkably, this is the second time in his career the priest has become a victim of PA technology.

He recalled a funeral service 18 years ago which was interrupted by a supermarket announcer.

He said: “Many years ago when I was doing a funeral we picked up an ASDA announcer saying the special offers.

“It came through loud and clear: ‘Good morning shoppers.’”

 

The unwelcome interruption came from the nearby Carnegie Hall which can be seen here across from the church

Though just like the pre-Christmas incident in Dunfermline, Father Heenan was able to quickly shut down the PA system and continue with the service.

He said: “You’ve got to have a sense of humour, you can’t take it too seriously.

“It’s not put me off using PAs, it was just a blip.”

Father Heenan only took up his post at the 120-year-old church a few months ago.

As well as the panto fiasco, he has had to deal with the building’s boiler breaking down.

It will cost around £40,000 to replace and the church is facing bills of £540 a week to pay for electric heaters.

“It takes time to get to know everything in a new parish and to unravel the mysteries,” he said.

One of the most famous scenes from legendary comedy Spinal Tap involves the radio microphone used by one of the hapless band members picking up the military traffic at the airforce base where they have been reduced to playing.

Mark Robson, operations manager at the Carnegie Hall theatre, said they were unaware there had been any problem.

He said: “We’ve spoken to our sound technician, he thinks they must be on the same frequency as us and

“It’s a bit unfortunate for them but I suppose it could have been worse.

“We’ll offer them some goodwill tickets.”

The show starred Karen Fishwick as Gretel and Ben Fitzpatrick as Hansel along with Gayle Telfer Stevens as a wicked witch.

The show picked up favourable reviews, with particular praise for its live orchestra soundtrack.

 

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