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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 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.

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.