Every great musician has their debut performance somewhere – and for the next crop of great musicians being developed in Spink Comhaltas, the Dunamaise Arts Theatre is a fantastic venue to make your public debut.
Ceol na nÓg (music of the young) is an initiative organised by Laois Comhaltas, which is made up of Spink Comhaltas and the other Comhaltas branches across Laois. It features a group of young, novice musicians, typically aged 12 or younger, and is a performance event featuring music, singing and dancing. The musicians’ performance lasts 15 minutes and is a great introduction to young musicians for performing in public as well as performing as a group. This year’s event took place on 17th February.
The event is deliberately designed as non-competitive since the focus is on encouraging participation, and confidence building. However, the music standards are high for such young performers and reflects the amount of work and preparation that goes in beforehand.
Spink Comhaltas has a strong track record in running music events having hosted the Laois Fleadh Cheoil in 2014 and running a very strong and well supported summer seisiún series in Heritage House every summer over the last number of years. Spink has also encouraged its students to consider the Comhaltas SCT exams – very good exam results have been achieved in these over the last number of years with 3 musicians winning the Micheal O h’Eighinn Gold Medal for their final exam results.
Chairman of Spink Comhaltas, Lawrence Vesey, congratulated all of the 2019 performers in Ceol na nÓg and thanked the music teacher Yvonne Bolton for all her preparation work. He also thanked some of the mosre senior musicians who supported the younger musicians as part of their performance.
He noted that while Spink Comhaltas has been very fortunate to have strong individual and group successes in competitions over the last number of years, our primary objective is to develop musicians with a love of traditional Irish music, strong music skills in their instrument, and to open up opportunities for them in music. Ceol na nÓg is a very important stepping stone for these young musicians – some of the previous Spink Comhaltas musicians who took part in this event have since gone on to be All Ireland winners and to perform on stage at a national level. All of them would acknowledge the important start that Spink Comhaltas provided to their music journey. Perhaps some of the 2019 Ceol na nÓg group will follow in their footsteps in the future. We hope so.