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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

Call out for New Members: Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra (online)

Martin Tourish and Michael Rooney with the Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra onstage at the Dunamaise Theatre (Nov 2019) Photo Denis Byrne

Applications are now open for high-standard, dedicated trad musicians to join the Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra (online).

The Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra is embarking on an ambitious collaborative composition project with Accordionist Martin Tourish, and Orchestra Director Siobhan Buckley. Using online platforms, the orchestra will collaborate with Martin Tourish in the composition of a new suite of music.

New members are invited to join the orchestra for this exciting project, which will culminate with the premiere of new music in October/November 2020. New members can sign-up to be part of this project until the premiere of this new music in the Autumn and pay a membership fee of €50.

We would love to see old members re-join for this special project too!

Members from all over Ireland are welcome, however we remain hopeful that a live performance in Laois might be possible in the Autumn (only if safe to do so), so do take into account that if restrictions are lifted there may be some travel involved for final rehearsals and performance if coming from outside of Co. Laois. If a live performance of this music is not possible, we will create an online premiere.

The positions open for audition are:

  • Button accordion
  • Guitar
  • Concertina
  • Whistle
  • Trad Flute
  • Mandolin
  • Banjo
  • Fiddle
  • Piano
  • Harp
  • Uilleann Pipes
  • Double bass
  • Bodhrán/Percussion

Standard: This opportunity is for intermediate/advanced traditional musicians with 4 years experience and upwards

Age: Open to all ages

Weekly rehearsal: Successful applicants must be available for weekly rehearsal on Tuesdays from 12noon to 1:30pm (from Tuesday 2 June onwards – full schedule tbc, we may break at some point for holidays), Attendance is strictly monitored, if members miss more than 3 rehearsals, their membership will be relinquished.

As rehearsals will be online, a good internet connection is required.

Fee: Orchestra membership fee until November 2020, €50

How to apply: Spaces are allocated on an audition basis, in the current climate, a pre-recorded video is acceptable – send an email to attach a video of you playing a reel. In the email include your name, date of birth, instrument(s), standard (how many years you have been playing, any significant performances or achievements in this time), Parent/Guardian contact telephone number (for those under 18) and home address. Please Note, as this is an advanced ensemble, expression of interest emails are to come from applicants, applications made by parents/guardians on behalf of musicians will not be accepted.

For large video files, use wetransfer.

Deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm, Thursday 28 May, 2020.

The Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra was established in January 2016 under the directorship of Paul Finn and Siobhan Buckley. In May 2016, the orchestra collaborated with Donegal Accordionist Martin Tourish to create a new 30 minute suite of music ‘1916 Visions and Voices’ funded by the Laois 2016 Community Fund, Per Cent for Art through Laois County Council and the Music Generation Arts Council Partnership.  The music was premiered on the 22 of May 2016, as part of the Music Generation Laois New Works Series, to unprecedented public response! The work has since been performed in Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann in Ennis 2016, for Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in Dublin Castle and in Powerscourt for the Ireland Funds Worldwide Conference attended by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Prince Albert of Monaco and has also been recorded an launched as a CD. In 2018, the Trad Orchestra premiered a new work ‘Loinnir Laoise,’ commissioned by Music Generation Laois and composed by Ryan Molloy as part of Music at the Malt House 2018. This suite of music was performed for a second time on the gig rig at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann 2018 in Drogheda.

Throughout the past academic year (2018/2019) the Trad Orchestra have collaborated with many well-known musicians including Christ Stout (fiddle), Catriona McKay (harp), Zoe Conway (fiddle) and John McIntyre (guitar).

Please note: This is a highly professional ensemble, repeated absenteeism is not acceptable nor is poor timekeeping.  Frequently additional rehearsals and performances are added and these are mandatory.  Musicians must come prepared to rehearsals. Poor conduct and irresponsible behaviour is not permitted.

Current members do not need to re-audition.

This project is supported by Creative Ireland Laois.

Online Open Mic Night


Music Generation Laois Online Open Mic Night is a creative music platform for young people aged 12-18 living on the island of Ireland.

This project seeks to connect with young musicians from across Ireland, to submit a video of their original music songs/tunes/compositions/raps/electronic music. Videos will be reviewed by Music Generation Laois, and a selection of videos will then be live-streamed at the Online Open Mic Night on Saturday 13th June @ 8pm on the Creative Ireland Laois YouTube Channel, as part of Cruinniu na nÓg – a national day of creativity for young people.

What we need: a video of at least 1 minute duration and no more than 2 minutes, filmed in landscape (side-e-ways) showing you perform your musical creation. For electronic music videos you are welcome to submit visuals to accompany your music.

What kind of music creations: Perform a tune/song you composed; a rap you created; electronic music you created or even a series of sounds created by you using objects from your home …

Any genre – pop, rock, jazz, funk, soul, dance, techno, trad, folk, contemporary, world, gospel….etc

All entries will be viewed by a panel of professional musicians from Music Generation Laois. This panel of professional musicians will choose a selection of entries to be showcased at the Open Mic Night on the 13th of June 2020. We also have 2 prizes available for entries that ooze originality and musical creativity, prize-winners will be announced on the night.

National Prize:  Win 1 day recording in Golden Egg Studios world-class recording facility in Co. Laois. Open to any young musician age 12-18 living on the island of Ireland.

Laois Prize: For up and coming musicians from Co. Laois! Win 1 year’s free music lessons in Music Generation Laois. Open to young musicians age 12-18 and living in Co. Laois.

Age 12- 18
Original music (Original music only, created by the young person/young people in the video)

Quality video with good lighting and audio

You must introduce yourself at the beginning of the video – first/band name and where you are from, e.g. I’m Mary, and I’m from Portlaoise. For electronic music with visuals, we can add credits if you need help.

Filmed in landscape

Video duration is between 1 and 2 minutes

Group performances are accepted, as long as they are created following Government guidelines on social distancing (acappella app/similar recordings etc are welcome)

Parents/ family members can assist in making the video

Email your videos to Music Generation Laois,
For large files we recommend you send videos by wetransfer. We will send you an email to acknowledge receipt of your entry. Label your file properly with your name, and the title of your entry, e.g. Joe Bloggs Master of the Sea
Include your name, DOB, home address, parent/guardian phone number in your email and the title of your piece.
Deadline for entries (NOW EXTENDED!): 5pm, Friday 5 June, 2020

Some Tips for Making Videos
• Film at eye level if you can. ie do not film from a height looking down
• Don’t film outside unless you have a really still day. The mic will pick up wind and ruin your film.
• Don’t use digital zoom, ie. don’t zoom in and out. Keep it fixed.
• Don’t flip camera upside down when filming.
• Use natural lighting indoors if filming, ie. let the light from the window flood your face.
• Use bedside lamps etc to help light the face
• Don’t use filters on the video – leave it natural.
• Leave 10 secs of silence at start and end of video clip. ie don’t press record and start talking straightaway. Leave time at the start and end.
Further Details on the prizes

– 1 Day recording in Golden Egg Studio, Co. Laois, with access to top-notch recording equipment and a sound engineer.

– 1 year free lessons in a Music Generation Laois group music class in Laois Music Centre (or online depending on closures), instruments will be provided for the year (September 2020-May 2021), standard refundable security deposit payable on instrument hire, consistent attendance required upon sign-up as per the terms and conditions of MGL student enrolment.

Cruinniu na nÓg is a national day of free creativity for children and young people across Ireland. It is an initiative of the Creative Ireland Programme (2018-2022) in partnership with Laois County Council and RTÉ.
More information at:

Temporary Closure of Music Generation Laois due to Government Instructions on Covid-19

The Irish Government has announced that all schools will be closing from 6pm today Thursday 12 March until Sunday the 29 March – this includes both Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music programmes in Laois Music Centre and out in schools. 

This also includes the postponement of:

  • The launch of new music by Paper Planes on Monday 16 March in Kavanaghs, Portlaoise
  •  Our Annual Music Festival on Sunday 22 March

We currently have no further details on rescheduling events as this is an evolving situation, we appreciate your understanding.

We are available via email throughout this temporary closure:

7th Annual Music Festival with Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music, Sunday 22nd March 2020

Guitars ready to rock on Sunday Photo: Denis Byrne

The 7th annual non-competitive Music Festival with Laois School of Music will take place on Sunday 22nd of March in Laois Music Centre. This is a great opportunity for students and ensembles of Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music to perform and get feedback from an external Music Advisor.

Applications are available from Tutors and by clicking below: