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Young musicians tune up for Concert Hall show



Athenry Youth Orchestra

Arts Week with Judy Murphy

Athenry’s young musicians will add another string to their already impressive bow when they join fellow performers from all over Ireland at the National Concert Hall early next year.

The members of Athenry Youth Orchestra are taking part in the of the 22nd Festival of Youth Orchestras, when they’ll share the stage with some of the other most exciting young musicians in the country – a total of eight orchestras are involved.

Presented by The Irish Association of Youth Orchestras, this event will take place on Saturday, February 11, with performances at 3pm and 8pm – Athenry are on the bill for the later performance.

They have prepared a wonderful programme including Suite for Strings by Joan Trimble and AthenRag by Katharine Mac Mághnuis, the Director of Athenry Music School and a woman of many talents.

Katharine has a first-class honours degree in Music from NUI Maynooth and she trained for over three years as a Suzuki violin teacher. She started teaching violin and academic music in 1992 and has conducted many ensembles and orchestras since then.

In 2007, she teamed up with Helen Farrell to establish the Athenry Music School. Both women are co-directors.

The school, which has has 27 teachers and more than 400 students will celebrate its tenth birthday in 2017.  It offers lessons in classical, traditional and jazz genres as well as having an academic department.

Katharine also founded the Athenry Youth Orchestra in 2007. The original orchestra had just 16 members – today, there are six regular ensembles with over 140 members.

The Music School thrives on an ethos of a fun, with a positive and inclusive approach to music education, and these values also extend to the orchestra. While the orchestra ensembles are housed in Athenry Music School, membership is open to any young musician.

The ensembles are structured like youth clubs – members have many responsibilities, including librarianship, accounts, fundraising (through busking), press duties and setting up and tearing down before and after performances.

The Youth Orchestra repertoire is chosen to appeal to members, with a special emphasis on contemporary works including commissions from composers Ciaran Hope, Emmet O’Connor, James Ross and Brendan Walshe.

The group travelled to Brussels late this year where they performed in three prestigious concerts, including the Offices of the Northern Ireland Executive in association with the Irish Embassy.

The orchestra recently received workshops from the leader of the Irish Chamber Orchestra  Katharine Hunka and members have performed in Kilkenny, Galway City, Dublin’s National Concert Hall, Gort, Bunratty Castle and at the Sixmilebridge Winter Festival.

They have also shared stages with top-notch musicians from across a range of genres, including Zoe Conway, Ailbhe Mc Donagh, Brendan Walshe, Yuki Nishioka, St Patrick’s Brass Band, The Young Singers from Canada and Austrian rock band The Talisman Collection.  And they give regular local concerts.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.


No end in sight for work on junction near Galway Clinic



From the Galway City Tribune – The City Council has declined to set a date for the completion of the Martin roundabout replacement near Galway Clinic – which was due to have opened more than a month ago.

In a statement, the Council would only confirm that the project was over 50 per cent completed.

“The project is now progressing to the surface type works including the installation of roadside kerbs, provision of footpaths and cycle lanes and road surfacing. These elements of the works will progress quite rapidly over the next month and there will be more of an appreciation for the progress on this project and the final layout will start to become apparent,” said a spokesperson.

“Ducting and preparatory works for the traffic signal installation is in progress and installation of the lights themselves will commence once the majority of surface works are complete. The final phase of the works will consist of significant landscaping of the junction.”

Work began on the junction in February, with an expected six-month schedule.

“There have been some delays to the programme as a result of industry-wide, supply-chain issues related to the war in Ukraine. There has also been further delays due to rock being encountered on site.

Rock was expected, however the hardness of the rock has been greater than anticipated and as such, has been slower to break and excavate on site,” according to the Council.
This is a shortened preview version of this story. To read the rest of the article and to support our journalism, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Galway Docklands Festival set to make a big splash in the city!



From this week’s Galway City Tribune – The city’s link to the sea is to be celebrated later this month with the staging of the inaugural Galway Docklands Festival featuring a range of culinary treats, sea tours, demonstrations and talks.

Running from the weekend of Friday, October 21 to Sunday, October 23, the event has the aim of celebrating the city’s bond with the sea and the local waterways network.

Organised by the Galway Hooker Sailing Club, Galway Bay Boat Tours and Galway Bay Seafoods, the spectacle has a packed schedule of events – many of them free – through each of its three days.

The ‘pay events’ – ranging from €5 to €15 – include a coffee morning, beer and seafood sampling as well as an historical boat tour of the Claddagh and Galway Bay (€15).

Boatbuilder Cóilín Ó hIarnáin will be giving free demonstrations of his skills on each of the three days; Ciaran Oliver will give a walking tour of the seafront (€10); while there will also be a free Galway Hooker rigging demonstration.

For the more adventurous, there are supervised powerboard ‘taster spins’ (€10) while for ‘the foodies’ the Galway Bay Seafoods fish’n’chips, the Hooker beer and seafood sampling, as well as the family cooking demonstrations – all priced at €10 each – look set to be big attractions.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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Mayor told to stay away from homecoming over funding snub



From the Galway City Tribune – The Mayor of Galway was asked to stay away from homecoming celebrations for extreme adventurer Damian Browne, the Galway City Tribune understands.

Mayor Clodagh Higgins was told that she was not to attend the event at the Docks on Tuesday as there had been disappointment in the ‘Project Empower’ camp that funding had not been made available from Galway City Council.

The Galway City Tribune has learned that Project Empower, which is led by Voluntary Manager MacDara Hosty, applied for €30,000 in funding from the local authority’s Marketing Fund in September 2021, but was deemed ineligible.

A spokesperson for Galway City Council confirmed this week that Project Empower did not meet the criteria set down by the fund which seeks to support the holding of major events and festivals in the city.

In documents seen by this newspaper, Project Empower proposed that Galway City Council be the title partner at a cost of €30,000 plus VAT.

The Tribune understands that the Council’s refusal to provide this funding was at the root of the Mayor’s snub on Tuesday, which drew attention online as members of the public questioned her absence.

When contacted, the Mayor refused to be drawn on questions relating to the Marketing Fund, but said it was her intention to offer a Civic Reception to Damian Browne at the nearest opportunity.
This is a shortened preview version of this article. To read the rest of this story and extensive coverage of Damian Browne’s homecoming, see the October 7 edition of the Galway City Tribune. You can buy a digital edition HERE.

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