(Tue. 20 Dec 2022) –The Music Generation Kilkenny Sing Out concert, which took place in St Canice’s Cathedral last night, was sold out for the last two weeks – and it is easy to see why.
Those lucky enough to have secured a ticket to last night’s performance were treated to 90 minutes of pure musical joy delivered by the young musicians of Music Generation Kilkenny – and sending the audience home with all of the warmth and joy of Christmas.
For the last six weeks, 200 children from CBS primary, Gaelscoil Osraí, St. John of God primary and Kilkenny School Project had been preparing, in their own classrooms, a programme of festive songs as part of weekly workshops with Music Generation Kilkenny musician educators Barbara Kelly and Clare Kilkenny. Last night, those individual schools came together on stage in St Canice’s Cathedral and delivered a heart-warming performance – and received a standing ovation for their efforts.
Music Generation Kilkenny is part of Ireland’s national music education programme initiated by Music Network and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and local music education partnerships. The programme seeks to transform the lives of children and young people up to 18 years by creating access to high-quality, affordable music tuition in their localities. Locally, the programme is led by Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB), in partnership with Kilkenny County Council.
The show opened with young musicians from the Kilkenny School Project strings programme. The programme, for third to sixth class students, began after the pandemic and has gone from strength to strength under Music Generation Kilkenny’s musician educator Carl Rochford.
Next up was a selection of vocal groups and soloists from Music Generation Kilkenny’s Creative Music Space. Tara Kovarova sang Have a Holly Jolly Christmas; Mikey Dorney and Jessica Kirk performed a duet with Prince of Peace. Enya Cox delivered a spine-tingling rendition of Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas with violin accompaniment from Carl Rochford. Clare Keating, Tara Kovarova and Julieann Fitzpatrick performed Somewhere in My Memory, perhaps best known from the movie Home Alone.
The Sing Out choir took to the stage after the interval and sang a selection of festive songs including favourites Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.
After a warm welcome from the Dean of St Canice’s Cathedral, the Reverend Stephen Farrell, Sinead Blanchfield, who is the music development officer for Music Generation Kilkenny, acted as MC for the concert and spoke of her ambition to make Kilkenny a singing county. She thanked the students, teachers, principals and the Music Generation Kilkenny educators: Clare Kilkenny (Vocals/Conducting), Barbara Kelly (Vocals/Piano), Jeremy Hickey (Percussion), Colin Power (Guitar) , Carl Rochford (Violin) and Mark Colbert (Sound engineer).
She commented, “I’m thrilled to see the support our young musicians received this evening from a packed audience in the magnificent St. Canice’s Cathedral. The children have worked so hard in the lead up to the concert and, for many, it was their first time performing in public. Kilkenny has such a wealth of young talent and one of my missions as music development officer is to nurture that talent and bring it to public attention through performance-based opportunities such as tonight’s concert. I’d like to wish all our partners and funders a very happy Christmas and a prosperous new year”.
The concert was also attended by KCETB Chief Executive Eileen Curtis, Kilkenny County Council Arts Officer Mary Butler and Music Generation Ireland National Director Rosaleen Molloy who made a special trip from Dublin to watch the performance.
Rosaleen Molloy spoke at the end of the concert about the Music Generation programme and the important role which it plays in bringing music performance to so many children and young people. Praising the young music makers, she described their performance as “a real musical treat – emotive, meaningful, authentic and brilliant”.
Main image caption: The Sing Out choir under the direction of Music Generation musician educator Clare Kilkenny