It was very early on Saturday morning 13th Feb when 25 girls from Colaiste Muire Orchestra and their entourage set off for the premier concert venue in the country, the National Concert Hall to participate in the annual Irish Youth Orchestra Festival . After all the preparation and planning the day had finally arrived We arrived just in the nick of time to meet our collaborators St. Peter's College Orchestra for our on stage rehearsal. After rehearsing all morning, the members grabbed a quick lunch before taking their seats in the balcony for the first half. Michael John Ryan and the Tipperary Youth Orchestra were first on stage. Their Abba medley went down particularly well with the audience. They were followed by the Donegal Youth Orchestra who were very impressive. Vincent Kennedy had the whole stage etiquette thing down to a tee and they really performed as opposed to merely playing their pieces . Bravo Donegal! Finally our moment came . It was very exciting and a relief that our moment to shine had finally arrived . Sean Rocks the compere made everyone feel at ease. All too soon our programme was over and conductor, Pat Morris bowed to rapturous applause . Our programme included hits a Brazilian samba , film themes from Pink Panther, Pirates of the Caribbean and the Lion King and a divertimento by Mozart in an arrangement by Sandra Dackow, last year's artistic director of the festival.
Lead cellist Tamires Roque from Brazil and Louise Mulcahy Dunboyne remained on stage to chat to Sean Rocks. I am very proud of these students. Both ladies began playing in their teens in school based projects and both emerged as star pupils who have gone on to take a full and active role in their school ensembles. Bravo ladies!
No rest for the wicked and I was delighted to accept an invitation to join in with the Galway Youth Orchestra with their conductor Michael Dooley. I loved their programme of Smetana and the Children of Lear Suite by Patrick Cassidy. It is a most attractive piece, not too dificult and I would love to play it with the Colaiste Orchestra.
There was time for a short skite down to Grafton Street before the girls climbed back on the bus. Carol Daly, Artistic Director of the Youth Orchestra Festival came aboard to wish the girls well and to thank them for their contribution to this terrific annual event. They were waved off by a party of St Peter's boys whowere very sad to see them go. The event marked the close of a 30 year gap since Colaiste Muire had sent an orchestra to Dublin to perform. No doubt members will have wonderful memories of their day, performing in this splendid venue. Another collaboration anyone?