The Sacred Heart School, Tullamore youth orchestra has been rehearsing hard over the Christmas and New Year period as its members prepare for a performance at the National Concert Hall (NCH) in Dublin on February 4 as part of the 17th Festival of Youth Orchestras.
Under the baton of Conductor Regina McCarthy the orchestra will perform works including the theme from ‘The Dambusters’, Tchaikovsky’s ‘Coronation March’ and a section of Vivaldi’s ‘The Four Seasons’.
The Sacred Heart School, Tullamore is the only all girls secondary school in Offaly and has an enrolment of over 700 students. The school has a vibrant and busy music department with many award winning choirs and a School Orchestra. The orchestra was set up by its Director, Regina McCarthy, in 1990 and has strings, woodwind, brass and percussion.
The orchestra, which comprises of students from first year to Leaving Cert rehearses weekly and has gone from strength to strength since its foundation. Being a member of the orchestra offers additional options for students taking the Junior and Leaving Cert Music practicals.
Many past members have followed music careers while some have been members of the National Youth Orchestra of Ireland.
The orchestra plays a broad range of styles and participates in many school and community events throughout the year. Recently they performed with the Band of An Garda Siochana.
They have also won many awards at festivals throughout the country. In 2009 they were awarded the ‘Dorothy Mayor Cup’ in Feis Ceoil. This is their first time to play in the National Concert Hall and they are really looking forward to the experience.
Allin Gray, Director, Irish Association of Youth Orchestras (IAYO), said, “We’re delighted to see such a range of youth orchestras participating from all around Ireland, from school and community orchestras, and the very young to the not-so young. It will be a day to remember as for many it will be their first opportunity to perform in Ireland’s premier music venue, the National Concert Hall.”
This year’s other participating orchestras are: North Wexford Youth Orchestra; Dundalk Grammar School Orchestra; Athenry Youth Orchestra; St Canice’s National School Orchestra, Kilkenny; Midlands Youth Orchestra; Galway Youth Jazz Orchestra and the Junior Cork Youth Orchestra.
The IAYO was founded in the mid 1990s to foster and encourage the development of Youth Orchestras and now represents more than 8,000 young players, playing in 108 orchestras, countrywide. A truly, family occasion funded by The Arts Council and kindly supported by RTÉ lyric fm and Cork City Council.
Tickets for the Festival on Saturday, February 4 are on sale from the National Concert Hall Box Office - 01 417 0000 www.nch.ie, group discounts are available, also from the NCH Box Office.