Athenry Youth Orchestra Receive the Development of the Youth Orchestra Award

Athenry Youth Orchestra received this award for their orchestral development and outreach programmes in Athenry and surrounding areas.

They started out in 2007 with one orchestra of 16 members and today they have six orchestras housed in Athenry music school and a further five outreach programmes with their own orchestras. These outreach programmes are very diverse and include the Lisheenkyle National School Orchestra, Crumlin National School Orchestra, The Gairmscoil Mhuire Orchestra, Gaelscoil Riada Harp Ensemble and a new brass orchestra in Monivea National School. That is a total of 11 orchestras all rehearsing weekly in a radius of 6 miles!!

Athenry are extremely passionate about creating music-making opportunities easily accessible to children. Their outreach programmes all take place during school hours, so children do not have to travel elsewhere to seek professional training. It also provides the children with free access to instruments that can often be expensive or are more unusual. In the last seven years Athenry Music School has provided 28 celli, 3 double basses, 20 violins and violas, 1 piano, 1 clavinova, 2 timapni, 10 harps, 16 trumpets and 7 trombones. Not only do Athenry provide these outreach programmes with training opportunities but they arrange performances for them, which are fundamental to giving children a well-rounded musical education. While, it is hoped that all these outreach programmes will become autonomous, Athenry Music School also understands that they are in a very strong position to support these programmes with the provision of existing performance opportunities (they run over 20 concerts per year) and the creation of new concerts and new partnerships for these schools.