Spink Comhaltas Qualify for All Ireland in 19 competitions
Spink Comhaltas had a busy weekend at the Leinster Fleadh in Athboy, Co. Meath, on 13/14 July with 8 groups and bands competing from under 12, through 15, 18 and over 18. A total of 54 junior musicians competed with a further 20 senior musicians making the Spink team one of the largest groups at Leinster Fleadh.
The music was as good as the glorious weather that weekend. Leinster Fleadh is actually a larger music competition than the All Ireland in August, with up to 32 competitors in some solo competitions and up to 20 bands in group competitions. The standard of music is equally high and it is a pity in many ways that only 1st and 2nd can qualify for the All Ireland when it is not unusual for some competitions to have in excess of 6 competitors who easily meet All Ireland standard. Ultimately, competition results are a personal decision by a judge, and on a different day with a different judge, there is often a different result.
All Spink groups and bands performed magnificently, and videos of the performances of each of the groups will appear on Spink Comhaltas Facebook page and YouTube channel in due course – watch out for them. Unfortunately while our senior band was placed 3rd , no Spink group qualified for the All Ireland this year. No matter. We had a great time. Congratulations to our sister Comhaltas branches in Laois who did manage to qualify a group for the All Ireland. Spink will be competing in 19 competitions in All Ireland and won 36 medals in total at Leinster.
In the solo competitions, Spink had very strong results, with solo competitors getting placed in the medals in almost every competition they entered in. Congratulations to medal winners Aaron Mackessy, Ailíse Dowling-McDonald, Ciara Mackessy, Conor Thompson, Daniel Aylward, David Vesey, Éabha Dowling-McDonald, Mark Vesey, Michael Lynch, Michael Somers, Molly O’Rourke and Simon Groarke, as well as the members of the Glenbarrow Céilí Band.
Congratulating all of the musicians who competed in Leinster Fleadh, Chairman of Spink Comhaltas, Lawrence Vesey, noted that the real value of the Fleadh competitions was providing a focus and motivation to practice technique and develop repertoire. “While it is great to get placed in competitions, our longer-term objective is to develop well rounded musicians who continue playing music after they become adults, and who develop and retain a love of music. To that end, we place just as much emphasis in Spink Comhaltas on performing in community events and our local music seisiúns as we do in competitions”, he said.
The music continues in Spink Comhaltas over the summer with music seisiúns in Abbeyleix on Wednesday evenings in July and August and supporting local community events. As an indication of how highly regarded our musicians are held, we have been requested to perform as one of the acts on the gig-rig at the All Ireland in Drogheda. Spink Comhaltas provides traditional Irish music lessons to members from Laois and bordering areas in Kilkenny, Carlow, and Kildare. With a comprehensive instrument bank to support members learning music in a cost-effective way, Spink prepares musicians for Fleadh Cheoil as well as traditional Irish music examinations. Most importantly, the tradition of playing and enjoying Irish music is being handed on to a new generation. More information is available on Spink Comhaltas on www.spinkcomhaltas.ie