Photo: Denis Byrne
Laois County Council has purchased the old Scoil Mhuire primary school building in Portlaoise which is set to become a new home to Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music.
The school, which has been vacant for a year, was built on the site of the town’s 16th century garrison inside a stone fort whose walls are still largely intact. The Fort Protector was the first English fort in Ireland, built to quell Laois rebellions. Laois County Council plans to use the site as a base to provide music and performing arts education to over 600 young people involved with Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music.
Reacting to the news, Music Generation Laois Co-ordinator Rosa Flannery said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have secured a premises for ourselves and Laois School of Music. Thank you to Laois County Council, Laois Arts Office, Laois and Offaly Education and Training Board and the brilliant Nuala Kelly, Co-ordinator of Laois School of Music. The new home for Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music will continue to build upon the strong partnership between Laois County Council and Laois Offaly Education and Training Board. It is onwards and upwards for the future of music in Laois!”
Preparations are underway for the move, and in the interim both Music Generation Laois and Laois School of Music continue to operate from Portlaoise Further Education and Training Centre, Tower Hill.
We are delighted to announce the recommencement of our Music Generation Laois Harp Orchestra. Siobhan Buckley is composing music for the orchestra, to be premiered as part of National Harp Day 2018.
Outline rehearsal schedule:
PLEASE NOTE, NO STUDENT WILL BE REQUIRED FOR THE ENTIRE DURATION OF REHEARSALS, ONCE WE KNOW WHO IS JOINING, WE WILL BREAK REHERSALS INTO SECTIONS!
Thursday 23 August, 1pm-5:30pm
Friday 24 August, 1pm-5:30pm
Sunday 9 September, 1pm-5:30pm
Sunday 23 September, 1pm-5:30pm
Sunday 7 October, 1pm-5:30pm
Friday 19 October, 5pm-7pm
Premiere on Saturday 20 October, Venue and times tbc, to mark National Harp Day 2018
Location: Rehearsals take place in Portlaoise Further Education and Training Centre, Tower Hill, Portlaoise
Fee: Membership Fee for the orchestra is €25
Harps: If you own your own harp, you must bring it to rehearsals, MGL harps will be available to our harp students who do not yet own their own harp
Please note, the orchestra is only open to harp students from Music Generation Laois, ie. those in our schools programmes and those who attend classes in our centre.
Spaces are limited on a first-come-first-serve basis, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 057 8664176 to sign up for the orchestra.
We are currently seeking an Assistant Co-ordinator for Music Generation Laois. This is a full time-temporary position with Laois County Council, full application details are available on Laois.ie
Applications are now open for high-standard, dedicated young trad musicians to join the Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra . Membership is for 2018 and will commence in January 2018.
The positions open for audition are:
- Button accordion
- Uilleann Pipes
- Double bass
Standard: This opportunity is for advanced traditional music students with 4 years experience and upwards
Age: 21 and under.
Weekly rehearsal: Successful applicants must be available for weekly rehearsal on Saturdays from 10am-11:30am. Attendance is strictly monitored, if members miss more than 3 rehearsals throughout the academic year, their membership will be relinquished.
Fee: Annual orchestra membership fee €100.
How to apply: Spaces are allocated on an audition basis – send an email to email@example.com with 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. Note, as this is an advanced ensemble, expression of interest emails are to come from young people, applications made by parents/guardians on behalf of their child will not be accepted.
Deadline for receipt of applications is 5pm, Thursday 30 November
Auditions: Successful applicants will audition on Tuesday 5th December in the Portlaoise Further Education & Training Centre.
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.
The Trad Orchestra performed on the Gig Rig at Fleadh Cheoil na hEireann once again in 2017 and have worked with acclaimed composer Ryan Molloy and have had workshops with brilliant Irish musicians such as Michael Rooney and members of Goitse.
Please note: This is a highly professional youth ensemble, repeated absenteeism is not acceptable nor is poor timekeeping. Frequently additional rehearsals and performances are added and these are mandatory. Young musicians must come prepared to rehearsals. Poor conduct and irresponsible behaviour is not accepted in line with the expectations around adult professional musicians.
On Saturday 11 November, to celebrate National Harp Day, Scottish Harpist, Catriona McKay together with Swedish Nyckelharpa player Olov Johansson, will perform as part of the Leaves Literary and Music Festival taking place in the beautiful Emo Court at 5.30pm. Playing a fusion of Scottish and Swedish folk music, the duo will be joined by the Music Generation Laois Harp Ensemble for the performance.
Catrions McKay and Olav Johansson, Saturday 11 November, 5.30pm, Emo Court tickets are €15/€5 for Music Generation Laois students. Booking through dunamaise.ie or calling 057-8663355.