Young musicians eagerly await NCH concert

Louth will be well represented when the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras (IAYO) return to the National Concert Hall in Dublin for their annual Youth Orchestra Festival on Saturday 19 February.

Among the talented young musicians taking part are Music Generation Louth’s Senior String Orchestra and the Dundalk Grammar School Orchestra, who will join other youth orchestras from across the country.

It’s been a tough time for young musicians, but now they’re ready to put it all behind them as they get back on the road and on stage, says Gemma Murray, Director of Music Generation Louth.

“Our orchestra has been around since 2012 and our first generation of musicians have now moved on to university and college and now a new band is taking their place.”

The conductor of the orchestra is Molly Grogan, 15, who is an undergraduate student at St Vincent’s.

Like the other members of the orchestra, she practiced at home.

Maggie Schmit only started playing the violin in transition year.

A student of Colaiste Ris, she explains that she had to take up a new hobby as part of her Gaisce challenge, and since she had always wanted to learn an instrument, she decided now was the time.

Laura MacArtain has been playing since she was just seven years old, thanks to the Music Generation Strings program for schools.

As she was the tallest in her class at St Malachy’s Girls School, she was given the double bass to play and she didn’t look back.

Now a sophomore at The Marist, she says she can’t wait to get out and perform after such a long break.

Brother and sister Caelan and Siran Farina from Clogherhead started playing the violin as part of the Music Generation violin program for schools. They play traditional and classical music and had a great time when Drogheda hosted the Fleadh.

“It’s great that we can all play together again,” says Claire Flanagan, who plays the violin.

Daniel Guo is one of the youngest members of the orchestra. A sixth-grade student at Dundalk Grammar School, he plays the cello.

Gemma pays tribute to the dedication of all the musicians who have continued their practice during the lockdown and who have participated in various classes and workshops on Zoom when they were unable to meet in person.

The Music Generation Strings Orchestra will perform three pieces during Saturday’s concert; The Sleeping Beauty Waltz by Tchaikovsky, music by The Hunger Games, and a new piece specially composed by Tiffany Qui, who is currently studying at the Royal Academy Of Music in London. Dundalk Grammar School alumnus Tiffany has composed a brand new piece called “Castle Roche Fantasy” inspired by the tragic legend of Castle Roche, located north of Dundalk.

Meanwhile, the Dundalk Grammar School Orchestra, with leader Grace Keneally and soloist Richie Dunne, will perform Flight of the Silverbird and Impossible from ‘Two Steps From Hell’, Karl Jenkins’ piece ‘Palladoo’ and Elbow hit ‘One Day Like This”. ‘,