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Musical Memories 2021

Musical Memories was developed in August 2020, responding to restrictions in Ireland due to the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. An intergenerational song project, Musical Memories seeks to address isolation among more vulnerable members of our community, by creating connections with children from local primary schools, through music.

Musical Memories is led by Nuala Kelly from Music Generation Laois. In 2020 residents from Abbeyleix Community Nursing Unit, St Vincent’s Communtiy Nursing Unit, Mountmellick, St Brigid’s Hospital Shaen and children from Paddock National School took part. Participants intially worked on pre-recorded videos, rehearsing songs, then moved to live zoom sessions with Nuala. Children from Paddock NS attended in-person sessions with Nuala. All the songs in this project are inspired by the interests of participating care home residents.

Musical Memories culminated with a zoom session/concert with all care home residents and the children of Paddock in December 2020, both a technical and musical feat. In addition to the finale concert, the Bandwagon, a mobile performing unit, created by our partner organisation Laois School of Music, brought a live ‘outside the windows’ performance to residents of St Vincents in Mountmellick, a welcome pre-Christmas gig in December.

Musical Memories 2020 was one of a number of projects across Ireland that was successfully funded by the ‘Positive Ageing and Creative Wellbeing Challenge Fund’ as part of the Creative Ireland Programme, supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) and in partnership with Laois County Council.

Musical Memories is continuing in 2021, under funding made available through the ‘Laois Keep Well Community Resilience Campaign.’ The project will expand to connect with a variety of voluntary organisations in the County, and with more primary school children getting involved. An exciting new chapter for Musical Memories, led by Nuala Kelly, the project will continue to work with all our fantastic participants from 2020, as well as a whole range of new singers, young and not so young, from across County Laois.

Musical Memories: Songsheets and Video Links 2021

Musical Memories: Part 1 Celtic Songs

Celtic Songs Guide Video

Celtic Songs – Song Words

Musical Memories: Part 2 Musical Theatre

Musical Theatre Guide Video

Musical Theatre – Song Words

Musical Memories: Part 3 Popular Music

Popular Music Guide Video

Popular Music – Song Words

Music Generation Laois would like to acknowledge the funding it has received from the  KEEP WELL Campaign, which is brought to you with thanks to Healthy Ireland, an initiative of the Government of Ireland with funding from the Healthy Ireland Fund and the Sláintecare Fund delivered by Pobal, administered by Laois County Council, and Healthy Ireland Laois

Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra – ‘The Impossible Dream’

Music Generation Laois have produced a short video to document ‘The Impossible Dream’ project. This video was produced by Naoise Kettle, with music by Martin Tourish and the Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra.

Music Generation Laois commissioned composer Martin Tourish to create a 20 minute suite of music inspired by the life of Colonel James Fitzmaurice for the Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra.   Colonel James Fitzmaurice was a pioneering aviator from Portlaoise who was part of the first successful transatlantic aircraft flight from East to West in 1928. 

The Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra was established in 2016 and is a traditional music ensemble that provides a platform for the burgeoning interest in traditional music among young people in Co. Laois.  Martin Tourish is working in a highly collaborative way with the young musicians – they are creating new music together. This project moved online after Ireland went into lockdown in March 2020. After a national call out in May 2020, the Laois-based orchestra expanded from 23 members to 76, and together this group face the challenges of composing, workshopping and performing music remotely, with young musicians from different parts of Ireland, north and south, from Armagh to Cork.  The project development has unearthed many intriguing parallels between our current challenges, and those faced by Fitzmaurice in his lifetime. 

This project is supported by Creative Ireland 2020, via Creative Laois in partnership with Laois County Council. A strong partnership with the Laois Heritage office, provided MG Laois with the inspiration to develop this project, and we are indebted to the contribution and assistance of Laois Heritage Officer Catherine Casey, and Local Historian Teddy Fennelly.

This video was produced for and supported by the Laois Arts Office for Culture Night 2020.

Percussion Section Rehearsal 27 November 2020 – Image Credit Alf Harvey
Martin Tourish pictured with online orchestra members 27 November 2020 – Image Credit Alf Harvey
Sectional Rehearsal, Laois Music Centre, 27 November 2020 – Image Credit Alf Harvey

Tionól Harps and Pipes 2020

Music Generation Laois, supported by the Music Generation/Arts Council Partnership Creativity & Collaboration Fund, presents our annual Tionól for harp and pipes. Tionól 2020 has been re-imagined to go online, we are grateful to the network of Music Generation programmes around Ireland for supporting this event.

Non-Music Generation harpers and pipers can sign up to take part in our Tionól, send an email to mgl@loetb.ie including your name, telephone number, DOB if under 18, and how many years you have been playing for, or an idea of standard of playing, and we will offer you 4 workshop spaces over the weekend of the 31 October and 1 November. Payment can then be made online, and links to your classes will then be emailed to you. 4 workshops is €40.

Saturday 31 October, Sunday 1 November: Online Workshops

Louise Mulcahy (pipes) James Mahon (pipes), Paul Harrigan (pipes), Ryan Murphy (pipes), Kieran O’Hare (pipes), Leonard Barry (pipes), Joseph Byrne (pipes), Tim Doyle (pipes)

Michael Rooney (harp), Catriona McKay (harp), Rachel Hair (harp), Siobhan Buckley (harp), Grainne Hambly (harp), Anne-Marie O’Farrell (harp), Lauren O’Neill (harp), Rachel Duffy (harp), Jill Devlin (harp)

Performances series on the Music Generation Laois Youtube and Facebook channels.

Sunday 1st November @ 7pm: Live-streamed album launch of Catriona McKay’s new solo harp album ‘Love in Secret’, Dunamaise Arts Centre, Portlaoise (Free), Music Generation Laois Youtube and Facebook channels.

Musical Memories 2020

Paddock NS – Image credit Alf Harvey

‘Musical Memories’ is a Music Generation Laois intergenerational Song-Singing project for care-home residents and children & young people. It is an interactive, sing-a-long musical experience with songs from many different eras and genres.

‘Musical Memories’ is one of a number of projects across Ireland that was successfully funded from the Positive Ageing and Creative Wellbeing Challenge Fund as part of the Creative Ireland Programme. The Programme is delivering a suite of creativity initiatives on positive ageing and mental wellbeing for older people in the community and in care facilities.

‘Musical Memories’ project aims to :

-Support positive ageing by placing a value on the input of residents in care settings;

-Mitigate the negative impact of social cocooning by re-establishing inter-generational human connection;

-Have a shared learning experience for all while preserving songs from different eras.

Paddock NS, Image credit – Alf Harvey

MGL Singing and Early Years Music Specialist, Nuala Kelly is Lead Musician for the project. She works with MGL in various Primary Schools in County Laois and as a singer/guitarist and choir director, she has been singing in residential care settings/nursing homes for many years. Nuala says,

The effect of singing and live music is quite amazing and can add immensely to the quality of life of nursing home/hospital residents. I’ve seen first-hand how someone who finds it difficult to speak because of conditions such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, can recall words to songs and sing with perfect diction.’

In a changing landscape and in times of social distancing, technology has come to the fore and is a creative new way for a project such as this to be delivered. The songs will be pre-recorded for the nursing home/hospital to use as often as they need to engage residents with the project songs.

‘I’m also very interested in intergenerational singing as so much can be learned from children and older people, and along with creating these Musical Memories via a collaborative performance, the children will be preserving songs from an older generation that too often are forgotten. We have given careful consideration to select good quality music across different genres so there’s something in the repertoire that will appeal to all musical tastes.’

Live Zoom sessions with children & young people and nursing home residents will be organised to rehearse the songs. A pre-recorded video performance of all participants singing, with the possibility of a future combined performance in real-time, pending government regulations at the time. The project also includes a small team of MGL tutors on Piano, Harp and Fiddle and runs from September to December 2020.

The selected songs and accompanying lyrics sheet can be accessed via the following links :

Musical Memories Part 1 – Tennessee Waltz, Red River Valley, Secret Love


Musical Memories Part 2 – The Spanish Lady, Red is the Rose, After the Ball


Musical Memories Part 3 – Oh What A Beautiful Morning, Black Hills of Dakota, Can’t Help Falling in Love


‘Musical Memories’ is supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2017-2022) and in partnership with Laois County Council. For more information on Creative Ireland Laois go to https://www.creativeireland.gov.ie/en/laois/.

Creative Adaptations 2020

Music Generation Laois’ team of musician educators will take part in training to continue the provision of our high quality multi-faceted performance music education programme, where a blended learning model will be implemented (a combination of live music delivery, and online music delivery), in light of the Covid-19 Pandemic. We will also invest in equipment to supplement this delivery.

This project is supported by Creative Ireland Laois as part of the Creative Ireland Programme (2018-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council.