IYWE 2013 Review – Emma-Lee Meegan

Irish Youth Wind Ensemble 2013 Emma-Lee Meegan was a member of this year’s Ensemble, and she kindly wrote about her experiences this year for Newsnotes


My 2013 IYWE experience got off to an early start at 5am on Sunday, 18th August. As it was my first year in the ensemble I was suffering from a few nerves on the bus on the way down, but fortunately my friend, who was in it last year, kept me entertained with stories of how nice everyone was and how much fun the week would be.

After registering, we spent Sunday and half of Monday in sectional rehearsals. It was a bit daunting at first, being stuck in a room with eight brilliant trumpet players, but once we got started on the programme I soon forgot how nervous I’d been. Everyone was very friendly and our trumpet tutor, Dave Collins, was great. Monday afternoon saw our first rehearsal as a full ensemble with conductor, Ronan O’Reilly.

Having never been part of such a talented ensemble before, I was amazed by how well everything seemed to fit together so soon into the week. I loved the choice of programme. The pieces were challenging but at the same time there didn’t seem to be anybody having nervous breakdowns over particular bars – so just the right level of difficulty. I think everyone in the ensemble would say they enjoyed every piece on the programme – there was always a great atmosphere during rehearsals and no stage where the conductor was getting frustrated. He even had the time to make fun of a few people’s accents (Ardee-hey!). My favourite piece was Nigel Hess’ East Coast Pictures because it had the most fabulous cornet and trumpet solos (but perhaps that is a little biased). I also loved the ‘Tango’ in Yosuke Fukuda’s Symphonic Dances. I honestly can’t say that I had a least favourite piece. The most challenging for me personally was the Trombone Concerto, as I was playing first trumpet in it and it had a few awkward passages.

We were kept well entertained in the evening with trips to the cinema, bowling, a quiz or just general socialising. The week wasn’t long flying by with rehearsals until 9pm every evening and it became hard to stay awake at night later on in the week! It was amazing, come Saturday, to be part of the concert in the National Concert Hall. Everything ran as smoothly as we could have hoped. Despite how great I thought we sounded at the start of the week it was incredible to hear the difference those few days had made to everyone. Part of me actually spent the concert wishing I could be out in the audience hearing it all from their point of view as I’m sure it sounded even better there than it did at the back of the trumpet section!

Overall, IYWE was a fantastic experience. I’m so glad to have met such a talented group of young musicians and am looking forward to IYWE 2014 already!