Chloe Cantwell (11) and Eva Costello (11) pictured with the Seamus A Costello-Murphy's Jewellers Cup during the launch of the Kilkenny Music Festival. Photo: Pat Moore.
By Sean Keane
A feast of music and song accompanied the launch of the 17th Annual Kilkenny Music Festival which will feature a range of Choral, Vocal, Instrumental and Chamber Music competitions for thousands of young and older performers from March 10 to 15, 2015.
City Hall was the venue for the launch hosted by Mayor Andrew McGuinness and was attended by family and friends of the donors of the Cups for the five newly introduced competitions.
There will be 93 competitions during the Festival with the closing date for entries on January,16th 2015.
The Festival organisers are particularly delighted to be introducing a number of competitions for Irish Traditional Music which has long been a dream of the Committee. Regina O’Leary introduced five wonderful musical performances to celebrate each new cup. Padraigin Ni Dhubhluachra presented the Corn Ui Dhubhluachra in memory of her grandparents Peter and Winifred who met in Patrick St Choir and were very involved in cinema and theatre in Kilkenny. The De Loughry’s together with the Stallard family owned the first cinema in Kilkenny which was situated in Parliament St and they then later owned. Kilkenny’s first theatre. Padraigin also in wonderful storytelling style told us of Larry De Loughry who was the first person to sing the National Anthem in public in Kilkenny. Her presentation was accompanied by a beautiful rendition of Donal O by young Sadhbh Ni Chasaide who attends Gaelscoil Osrai. Regina then welcomed Carmel Ni Cheallaigh who was presenting a cup in memory of her late husband Roibeard O Ceallaigh. Roibeard was from a family of four generations of Kellys who lived in Irishtown. He had a huge love of Gaeilge and was a member of the local Conradh from his youth and was also very involved with Rothe House. His particular love was Ceili Music and it was fitting that the Dynamica Quartet from St Canices’s Co-Ed performed John Ryan’s Polka and Three Reels with great gusto. Carmel expressed her delight in being back in Kilkenny to present Corn Roibeaird O Ceallaigh to the Festival. Even though Roibeard had to leave his native city for work he always described himself as a Kilkenny man.
The audience were given a real treat with a wonderful performance on Uileann PIpes by Liam Mac Coistealbha introducing the Corn Sheain Ui Chasaide which was presented by his son Seathrun O Casaide. This cup will be awarded to the winners of the Secondary Schools Grupa Cheoil Tradisiunta. Speaking of his father Sean , Seathrun described the rich life of traditional music enjoyed by his family through his father’s huge involvement in teaching, performance and even adjudication. He regaled with much amusement that his father had once given 2nd place in a choral competition to Sean O Riada’s Choir.
The Chamber Music Competitions have been the fastest growing in the Festival and this year the Committee decided to separate Strings and Wind from competing against each other. the first Cup was assigned to Primary Schools Wind Chamber competition and the audience heard a beautiful rendition of Allemande by Gervaise performed by Chloe Cantwell and Eva Collins. This performance was a lovely and poignant moment for the Costello family from Murphy’s Jewellers who presented the Seamus A Costello- Murphy’s Jewellers Cup.Chloe Cantwell is Seamus’s grandaughter and in his speech Stephen remarked how proud her grandfather would have been of her performance in City Hall. Seamus’s wife Marie is a great supporter of the Festival and is one of the dedicated team of volunteers.
The final performance of the evening came from the exceptionally talented Whirlwind whose members Daire Pryal, Niall Brennan( Clarinets) and Lauren FItzpatrick, Roisin Gogarty (Flutes) wowed the audience with their rendition of Scott Joplin’s Ragtime. Colette Dalton of The Orange Cafe was thrilled to be donating the Orange Cafe Cup for Secondary School WInd Chamber Music. She thanked the Festival Committee for inviting her to become involved in this way with the Festival and complimented the fantastic work being done by the Committee to foster music performance in Kilkenny. She and many of her family members who attended the Launch presented the Cup to Regina and are looking forward to awarding it to the winners of the Wind Chamber on March 6th next year.
Mayor Andrew McGuinness was extremely impressed with the standard of the music and remarked that it was one of the most enjoyable events held in the beautiful venue,. In her closing speech Regina thanked the Festival Sponsors- St. Canices Kilkenny Credit Union, Statestreet, Bank of Ireland ,Meubles and what was Kilkenny Borough Council. She gave particular mention to her colleagues Ann Marie Kenny, Maureen O’Keeffe, Margaret O’Dwyer, Jo Browne and Lori Comerford who do Trojan work with much good humour and enthusiasm to make this Festival happen annually.
She expressed her gratitude to Carl Rochford who set up the Festival website. She also saluted the dedicated volunteers who come year in year out to volunteer with stewarding and the many other jobs that need to be done during the Festival’s busiest week of the year.
She also thanked Ger Cody at the Watergate Theatre for hosting the Festival Gala Concert on March 24th 2015 during which the major awards and Bursaries will be presented to outstanding performers.S he was also heartened to see so many of the Festival’s Vocal Winners and competitors performing in the upcoming Watergate Youth Production of Miss Saigon in November.
Finally, she expressed her thanks to Mayor Andrew McGuinness for hosting such a lovely evening and for his support of all things musical in Kilkenny. Festival enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org or Festival Mobile 0863569745
The Festival Syllabus is displayed on the website- kilkennymusicfestival.com