Music and Reviews from Clare, Limerick, Waterford and sometimes further afield

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Conducting training with maestro Robert Houlihan

I spent last weekend on the lovely UL campus honing my conducting skills with international conductor Bobby Houlihan. The campus looks really splendid at this time of year and it was a pleasure to inhabit the futuristic Irish Chamber Orchestra building for a few days . The architecture of the various buildings looks quite adventurous even if the gold wall of the Taj Micheál looks a tad ott. There was lots going on on campus with the Irish Youth Choir, the Blas Summer School and NYOI Camerata all active on campus
The course was run by the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras and the participants came from all parts of the country and were at varying levels committment and ability. Bobby Houlihan did a good job adapting his approach to the different levels. A quartet was engaged and we augmented the ensemble on our own instruments, which I enjoyed very much as I do not so much regular orchestral playing these days. Particularly hard wrorking was pianist Rhoda Dullea

So what did I learn. Too much flicking. Try to reduce the frame as you increase speed . Think of transferring the beat. We learned basic patterns for subdividing beat , very useful.

Friday, June 18, 2010

CD Stringschool Report 2009 summer camp

inaugural - CDS Summer School.

The young participants of the CDS Summer Music School gave a special lunchtime performance at Danlann on Chlair to close the event . They delighted their capacity audience as they demonstrated their new skills acquired over the course of the week under directors Cathy Desmond and Edel O’ Halloran.

The aim of the week was to give participants an introduction to learning a musical instrument with all instruments provided.
All participants received special certificates for their attendance and progress and the special student award for the CDS summer school was awarded to Christine Gillespie for her impressive progress on cello over the week.

Particular thanks to all the daily guests at the Summer School

Daniel Foley of Ennis Brass Band gave a demonstration of brass band instruments and spoke about the busy schedule of engagements of the band during the year.

Lianne Bradley performed a selection on concert flute and piccolo. Tamires Roque demonstrated the rich range of the cello and joined resident tutor Alice Foley in a cello duet, all three ladies, students at Colaiste Muire.

Michelle Hennessy director of Clare Music Makers and of the Friary Choir gave a virtuoso performance on trumpet before giving all the participants a first lesson.

John Lynch leader of the Kilfenora Ceili Band just back from wowing festival goers in Glastonbury popped in to talk about the the previous weekend

Posted by Cathy Desmond at 6:00 AM 0 comments

CDStringschool Summer Camp announced

Summer Music Camp
Venue: Colaiste Muire Ennis

Monday 16th to Friday August 20th

Open to students 8 – 13years
Numbers limited.
Tuition by fully qualified music teachers

Course Content

1. Introduction to playing violin – instruments provided . Good opportunity to try out violin and other strings without committing to long term lessons .

2. Singing - Show tunes/ pop favourites
3. Percussion – ethnic drumming workshop instruments provided
4. *New for 2010 Guitar workshop learn some easy chords
Course fee €80 snack provided –

Monday to Friday : 10.00 am to 1.00 pm

Director: Cathy Desmond BA H. Dip LTCL

Application Form CDS Summer Music Camp Ennis

Childs Name_________________________________________

Parent /Guardian Signature____________________________________________

Parent email address________________________________________________________________________________________________
Student’s Date of Birth_________________________________
Musical Experience if any______________________________
Any medical conditions ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

Parent Guardian Tel. No._____________________________

Detach and return with payment to Cathy Desmond by Fri 8th August to
34, Willsgrove, Cahercalla, Ennis, Co. Clare.
Tel 086 3504741

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Summer Serenade CD Stringschool

CDS Cathy Desmond Stringschool
Summer Serenade
Willsgrove Cahercalla
15th June 2010
And when the folk there spy me,
They will all come up to me
With ‘Here is the Fiddler of Dooney
And dance like a wave of the sea
WB Yeats
The Cahercalla Violin Ensemble
Naoise and Aoife McMahon, Chloe and Emily Ryan, Grainne Kelly , Alannah Aherne.
Accompanist Alice Foley
Introducing Liam and Dillan on piano

Twinkle Twinkle Theme and Variations

Lightly Row
*********** Piano corner Dillan and LiamMurray
Pancake / Mary Had a Little Lamb
Premiere Waltz Carse First study Czerny
Fiddle Time Blackwell
Frere Jacque
Old MacDonald
Dance des Bouffons

Ode to Joy

Well done to all my students for their hard work during the year. I have enjoyed the lessons and am very proud of the progress you all have made over the year. Thank you to all parents and grandparents for your support I look forward to seeing you in September. Classes will resume on Wednesday 1st September
Cathy Desmond / Director CD Stringschool

photos to follow

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Paul McCartney RDS Dublin June 12th

Just back in Ennis after the pilgrimage to hear one of the legends of popular music perform at the RDS.
McCartney appeared on stage around 8.30 looking trim and dapper. I had some misgivings about the venue and they were soon realised with quite a significant time delay between the lips and sound arriving at back of arena detracting a little from the feel of the live gig. It was some consolation that the celeb balcony bearing Tubridy et al was at the same remove.
McCartney opened with some Wings numbers proving he could rock with the best of them but I suspect many of the concert goers breathed a sigh of relief when he sat at the piano for The Long and Winding Road. While you couldn't but admire his staying power and effort, one couldn't ignore that some of the songs were very banal, worthy of Eurovision entry even and yes Paul we know you can lep up and down, but that doesn't mean you have to. The audience noticeably warmed up with a charming version of George Harrison's 'Something in the Way She Moved' Paul accompanying himself on ukelele.
The pyrotechnics for Live and Let Die although anticipated, were impressive .
On the way out we spotted PeterMcMenamin General Sec TUI singing away to Yesterday. Lets hope he wasn't thinking of the Croke Park agreement.
There was time for a post show nightcap with my friend and former colleague Pat Morris before boarding the excellent Kavanagh's Midnight bus to the West.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Flamenco at Glor

A quartet of performers from the Alma Flamenco troupe brought a real flavour of Spain to Clare last night with their show Al- Andar. The group comprising male and female dancers, singer and guitarist performed with real passion and their presentation not overly flashy added to the impression of the troupe's authenticity.

Dancer Felipe Algeciras, (the dancing feet who provided the sound effects for Antonio Banderas on the Mask of Zorro) looking quite demonic in red suit and boots performed a lengthy sequence that brought the audience to its' feet . I note that in common with Irish tradition, fellow performers regularly gave words of encouragement to the soloist .

While the show was entertaining , it would have added something to know something of the subject of the songs.What terrible torment was singer Jimenez singing of that made him clutch his chest and assume an such an expression of anguish.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sean Rocks / Arena / O Duinn

Whatever cribs I might have about the morning RTE schedule and the tendancy to interview a succession of inhouse guests from the RTE canteen, ( Kathryn Thomas interviewing Jimmy Magee most recent transgression in mind), I have no such complaint with the dedicated evening arts programmes.
I have just finished listening to Sean Rocks on Arena interviewing people involved in all areas of the arts. The guests included a travel writer, an American actress, a heavy metal rock artist and a really splendid interview with Pronsios O Duinn . I may have even missed one out.
I suppose technically O Duinn is an RTE employee but not one I am tired of listening to, who conveys an authority and enthusiasm for his topic. Equally comfortable whether his guest is a heavyweight music critic or a punk rocker,the presenter leaves space for the guest to inform and entertain and never seeks to impress his own knowledge upon the listener and one suspects he is very well informed. Super !
I don't know if I will manage to make it to Leisureland Galway tomorrow for the performance of the Concert Orchestra and the Galway Baroque Singers but this interesting and informative interview really made me want to be there.

Well done Sean Rocks. I didn't feel like switching over to Mark Lawson once during your programme

Monday, June 7, 2010

Hunka Burning Love /night of soul at Iniscealtra

Another evening, another summer festival. Tonight I headed east to Mountshannon which had a languid continental feel to it with patrons sitting outside the pubs and restaurants. The glimpse of the dancing feet of a flat capped sean nos dancer drew us in to the Mountshannon Hotel bar for a closer look. The band of musicians appeared to be a mix of locals and visitors with european and oriental faces in the mix and the audience were a colourful blend of all sorts with three Hells Angels sitting in the corner . Highlight of the night was the Hunka Burning Love Soul act in the local hall. There was something reminiscent of 'The Committments ' about the setting, community hall with small stage draped in red velvet for the evening . The group made of glamorous trio of female vocalists, drums, bass guitar and front man on marimba ? and harmonium. This is a very slick outfit who had the capacity crowd on their dancing feet in rhumba time and set apart by the classy string riffs of Diane Daly's violin and the easy assured style of front man Boris Hunka who sounds just like Jools Holland. Catch them if you can . Cool !!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

All that Jazz! Doonbeg Jazz Festival

I drove out to the West Clare village of Doonbeg , last night to catch some of the action at the local annual jazz fest. We peered into Comerfords where there was a Dixieland outfit who sounded great and looked like they were having fun but it was just too hard to make your way in for a closer look. No such difficulty and plenty of room at the Igoe Inn where we had very comfy chairs to watch scottish group JazzMain. Made up of trombone, sax, drums piano, accoustic double bass and vocalist , they covered an attractive range of jazz standards. There were some difficulties with amplification with the vocals sounding a little muddy but piano sounded very clear and there was much to relish in the fine playing . A more negative factor though was the positioning near two access doors which meant there was a constant stream of people moving in and out under the musicians noses. Hard to belt out a soulful ballad with all that going on not to mention our natural tendancy to converse regardless .

Back up for another scout around where a very large crowd waited for Skazz in Tubridy's , Comerford's was still choc a bloc but the hit of the night for me was Fireflies in Madigans. A Klezmer group based in Southwest consisting of clarinet , accordion, bass and drums, they were belting out lively tunes with driving rhythms perfect for a noisy boisterous venue on a Saturday night. Best of all we could see and hear them perfectly from a position outside at street window where we were joined by several other patrons. Jazz in every corner of the village and something to suit all tastes

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

St Agnes Crumlin

Large group om mostly primary school teachers gathered in Crumlin for information day. Joanna Crooks and Sr Bernadette Sweeney are so clear in their vision much of their philosophy was heartening to me. The anlogies with sport were well made. The value of even a rudimentary skill. Three tunes is enough to enjoy it and have some fun. The value of engaging local media to boost morale: the importance of engagement with the local community. I took to heart the advice on not looking too far ahead.