The Cross-Community Connections Orchestra Tour Took Place in Belfast

Athenry Youth Orchestra, Cork ETB School of Music and Dalriada Grammar School from Northern Ireland formed the first Connections Orchestra and recently performed in the Great Hall at Stormont in Belfast. This was a cross-border and cross-community orchestra which included workshops and the young musicians were joined by traditional musicians, Will Pound, from England and, Jenn Butterworth, from Scotland.

This project was the brainchild of Katharine Mac Mághnuis and the Athenry Youth Orchestra team. When chatting to the present Athenry Youth Orchestra members about her teenage experiences in school in Northern Ireland, the members commented that many of them had never been to Northern Ireland and, even if they had, they had no experience of spending meaningful time in the company of their northern counterparts. The weekend allowed the young musicians a chance to mix and get to know each other. The Connections Orchestra was funded by the IAYO Youth Orchestra Collaboration Grant. In 2022, IAYO launched a pilot grant scheme to stimulate collaboration among youth orchestras in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

Musica Fusion School of Music and Athenry Youth Orchestra received the inaugural IAYO Youth Orchestra Collaboration Grant. Musica Fusion School of Music used the grant to host the Musica Fusion Community Orchestra Festival in November 2022. Read more about the Festival here.

IAYO are delighted to announce the Collaboration Grant will be available in 2023. Read more about the 2023 grant here. Closing date for applications is Friday, 5 May 2023.