ConCorda 2014

Review by Kevin Jansson 

I remember the first day of my first ConCorda like it was only yesterday. I was really excited for the course, but no one could have told me how much I was going to enjoy it as much as I did. The vast number of new friends I made, the amount of amazing music I played and the amount of fun I had at ConCorda was second to none. Best week of the summer. I thought nothing could beat it. Not until I returned for ConCorda 2014. I knew half the people already, as many of them are from Cork, and this made the first day far easier, as I knew the staff and my way around the place. I honesty believe that ConCorda 2014 has been my favourite week of my life so far.

The tutors were so kind, helpful and had respect for our ideas about the music, and they also provided brilliant insights to the music! We were also privileged to have Marc Danel on the course as a tutor. He is an amazing musician, and we benefitted so much from his tutoring. The last two years has seen ConCorda having two amazing composers in residence, Sam Perkin and Elaine Agnew. This year we had a fun workshop with Elaine where we did lots of fun and interesting rhythmic exercises, and sang a brilliant birthday present for one of our members! We encompassed this into our concert in Castalia Hall also. Castalia Hall is one of the most picturesque halls in Ireland. It’s very small, but what it lacks size, it makes up for in beauty. We were very privileged to perform there. My birthday happened to fall on the day of the Castalia Hall concert and it was my best birthday to date!

Of course, I have to mention our unbelievable quartet in residence for two years now, the Acanthus quartet. My quartet have worked with three of its members, and we have each learned so much from each of them. They are also very often the highlights of the fun evening activities. I really hope they come back next year!

In a day, we had the normal music sessions after lunch. Every day we had one music theatre session. At the beginning I was a bit unsure about it, but it became one of my favourite activities as the week went on, and it was wonderful to see our play come together in our final end of course concert in Kilkenny College. Then we would have a break after lunch time where we could partake in the awesome fun daytime activities, organised every day 100% by our amazing team of night staff, who did a lot more than just putting us to bed and getting us up! They spent hours everyday entertaining us and making the course even more enjoyable.

In the evening we had the ConCorda chamber orchestra rehearsal. We played a really beautiful and atmospheric Fantasie by Vaughan Williams. It was made up of the ConCorda chamber orchestra, an octet made up of the staff, and the Acanthus. The octet was positioned behind the audience, and this, incredibly, gave the impression that it was an organ! I think all the music we played was brilliant. In the last course alone, I got to play Schubert’s quintet, Mendelssohn’s octet, Brahms’ second sextet, and quartets by Beethoven, Shostakovich and Haydn.

The best thing about ConCorda, I think, is that everyone shares the same love for music, and that everyone is friends with everyone. I can’t wait for ConCorda 2015!