IAYO Youth Orchestra Achievement Awards 2018

IAYO present the Youth Orchestra Achievement Awards annually at the Festival of Youth Orchestras. The aim of the awards is to acknowledge the particular accomplishments of IAYO member Orchestras and to show examples of excellent work that can be used by others to develop their own orchestras. In 2018 the Awardees were as follows:

Jennifer Sheil receiving the award from IAYO Chairperson, Clare Daly, on behalf of Julianstown Youth Orchestra. Photo: John Soffe Photography

Julianstown Youth Orchestra – Gesamtkunstwerk
Gesamtkunstwerk was a two-year collaborative project under the musical direction of its founder and director Fergus Sheil. The aim was to bring together the creativity and talents of two groups; the phenomenal musicians of JYO, and an outstanding production team. Ten JYO players composed pieces of music and other JYO came up with fantastic performance concepts.

The initial objective of bringing groups together was certainly achieved. The theatrical, comedic and dance elements of the artwork allowed for individual personalities to shine. The dedicated JYO committee worked extremely hard and parents played a huge role in supporting their children’s motivation and creativity. The project culminated in a public performance of Gesamtkunstwerk which took place in March 2017 and the players then recorded their ten pieces of music in Windmill Lane Recording Studios

Ifunanya Ekenna and Odera Chukwuewuzie accepting the award on behalf of St Agnes Chamber Orchestra. Photo: John Soffe Photography

St Agnes’ Chamber Orchestra
In June 2017 a plan was “hatched” by Scoil Úna Naofa Violin & Orchestra Project to arrange a tour for St Agnes’ Chamber Orchestra. A member of St Agnes’ Parents String Orchestra had relocated with her family to Madrid and had found an orchestra to join – Orquestra Tres Cantos, Madrid. Two visits to Ireland from Madrid from the intergenerational orchestra of Escuela Municipala de musica Tres Cantos were arranged and hosted by the adult orchestra in Crumlin. The Madrid orchestra was eager to offer hospitality in return but funding problems seemed insuperable.

An extremely varied fundraising drive was focused entirely on the expenses of the Chamber Orchestra to travel to Madrid. The priority being an exciting tour opportunity before one significant group of students reached Leaving Certificate year. The hard work paid off! In June 2018, Spanish families warmly welcomed Irish student players into their homes and all host families had musicians playing in the host orchestra and real friendships developed.

Sorcha Greene, Alanna McGregor, and Conor Brosan with their tutor Shane Cavenagh accepting the award for Howth Primary School Orchestra Project. Photo: John Soffe Photography

“Music Makes Magic” – Howth Primary School Orchestra Project
The idea for the “Music Makes Magic” Project was formed by the parents and community of Howth Primary School, Scoil Mhuire in January 2013. The goal was to provide music lessons to all and was set up with a small group of approximately 10 players. Through fundraising and grants, seven new cellos were purchased. A handful of large violins were converted into violas and they started a new group of third-class children on these instruments. A new resource of an instrument library was also created and, with donations, and there are now close to 70 instruments.

The “Music Makes Magic” Orchestra really began to explore joint ventures in 2016. Their first collaboration was with the Royal Irish Academy of Music Junior Strings, and they welcomed the RIAM Transition Strings to Howth the following year to perform a joint concert. They then returned to Westland Row in 2018 to perform a concert in St. Andrew’s Church with the RIAM. They have also had three annual exchanges with St. Finian’s Primary School, Finglas. In March 2018 they welcomed the DYO Junior Strings to Howth for a performance in St. Mary’s Church.

In September 2018 membership grew to record high of 45 which is close to 15% of the total school population. They are intending to increase the amount of ‘trad’ they play going forward, as they are inspired by the fact that in May 2018 the orchestra gained a patron in the famous fiddler John Sheahan.