Spink Comhaltas

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Press Release – Spink Music Festival – Inspiring

Spink Music Festival – Inspiring

Spink Comhaltas are delighted to announce the launch of a new music festival in Abbeyleix on 25/26th March.  The theme of the Festival is “Inspiring Young Musicians for the Future” and the organising committee are very excited about the excellent line up of master musicians.

To become a great musician … you need to see and work with great musicians.  With some of the best and most innovative young musicians performing in Ireland today, we are offering Master Music Classes across a range of instruments – whistle, flute, fiddle, accordion, concertina, banjo, harp, uileann pipes, and voice.

The line-up of music tutors have more All Ireland titles than the Kerry has in football!  But in addition to competition medals, they bring the experience of innovation, collaboration, deep academic expertise and real-life performance – all of which will be hugely valuable to young musicians.  The inaugural Spink Music Festival features Alan Finn (leader of the 3-time champions Shandrum Céilí Band), the renowned Granville sisters from Dingle (Aoife and Deirdre), Greta Curtin, Thomas Ahern, Jason McGuinness, Muireann Ní Shé, as well as strong Laois connections in Robert Harvey, Molly Donnery and David Vesey, who is the Music Director for the Festival.

The festival, which will be based around intensive, instrument specific master classes over 2 days in Scoil Mhuire, Abbeyleix – covering flute, whistle, harp, fiddle, banjo, accordion, pipes, concertina and singing. These master classes are specifically targeted at intermediate/advanced musicians.  It will also feature a first class music concert of all of the tutors in the atmospheric surroundings of St Michael’s Church in Abbeyleix on the Saturday evening.  A music session trail in Abbeyleix will also feature, more details of which will be announced later.

Announcing the Festival launch, co-chairpersons of Spink Comhaltas, Úna Aylward and Genevieve Bennett, noted that this Festival had been a long-standing ambition of the branch over the last couple of years, but it had been delayed with the pandemic.  While Spink was one of the few Comhaltas branches to successfully continue music activities without a break during the pandemic, opportunities for young musicians to meet master musicians was severely constrained, so the need for such a festival was even greater as we returned to a normal routine.

Úna and Genevieve want to acknowledge the support of Eirgrid’s Laois Kilkenny Community fund as well as funding from LOETB which is important components in helping to make this festival possible, as well as the tireless input from all of the members of the voluntary committee in Spink who do huge work, most of it unseen, to organise and train generations of musicians from Spink year after year.  The music festival leaders are Marguerite O’Donovan and Gillian Martin, along with David Vesey as music director.  Special thanks to Scoil Mhuire and Canon Patrick Harvey for their support also.

Spink Comhaltas is celebrating 40 years in existence later this year, and the launch of this festival is one of the major events being delivered by Spink this year.  The branch will be hosting Laois Fleadh in June and are already busy making preparations for this as well as getting the music festival launched.

Tickets are available to purchase from Spink’s website at www.spinkcomhaltas.ie/inspiring – tickets for the masterclass include a complimentary ticket for the Concert.  Separate Concert only tickets are available for sale as well.  The tickets go on sale to the public on Monday evening 13th February – early booking is advised.

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.  Spink celebrates 40 years of music, dance and song in 2023- more information is available at www.spinkcomhaltas.ie

End.  12th February 2023

Contact details:               Music@SpinkComhaltas.ie

© Spink Comhaltas 2023

Some photos – Music Tutors -in separate emails

Alan Finn – Button Accordion

Aoife Granville – Flute

Deirdre Granville – Harp

Greta Curtin – concertina

Robert Harvey – Whistle

Thomas Ahern – Banjo

Jason McGuinness – Fiddle

Muireann Ní Shé – Uileann Pipes

Molly Donnery – Singing

David Vesey – Music Director

with additional guest musicians for Tutors concert