As countless music events were cancelled this Summer due to COVID-19, the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School Committee decided to keep the tradition of the Summer School alive and make it available to everyone during this difficult time. A week of ‘Facebook Lives’ was organised instead, which took place from Monday, 29th June to Friday, 3rd July. This involved online tutorials which ran from 10am to 7pm each day on the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School Facebook Page. Pupils got the opportunity to learn a tune, a song or a dance every day, with each ‘Facebook Live’ tutorial lasting for approximately 45 minutes, facilitated by top-class tutors.
The week began on Sunday, 28th June with Aifreann Gaeilge online from Kilmovee, celebrated by Fr. Vincent Sherlock. This was a lovely start to the week with Fr. Vincent acknowledging that while it was sad not to have the Summer School in Kilmovee this year, the week of ‘Facebook Lives’ would give everyone an opportunity to engage virtually in music, song and dance.
Tutorials commenced the following day with Oisín Mac Diarmada on Fiddle, followed by Daithí Gormley - Accordion, Cian Kearins - Flute, Breda Shannon - Concertina, Theresa O’Grady – Banjo, Éadaoin Ní Mhaicín - Harp, Aidan Shannon - Tin Whistle, Joseph McNulty - Bodhrán, Caoimhe Kearins - Traditional Singing and Laura Ganley - Sean Nós Dancing. Classes continued each day up to Friday, 3rd July.
The week was an overwhelming success, with a total of 4,850 participants from 46 countries joining in ‘live’ and a further 141,400 views of the videos afterwards! Feedback from across the world on the Facebook Page was hugely positive for all tutors and tutorials.
The ‘Facebook Lives’ were free to access and in return, the Summer School Committee asked participants if they would consider supporting a worthy local charity, the Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation. A large number of participants donated to the fundraiser, with a massive €4,660 raised. Martina Jennings, CEO of Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation was presented with the cheque by the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School Committee in Kilmovee. Ms Jennings said: “We are so grateful to everyone involved in the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School for their efforts in making this event happen virtually and for choosing Mayo Roscommon Hospice Foundation as the charity to benefit. The €4,660 raised is vital to us, especially in these tough times, as we continue to provide our palliative care services in the community and progress with construction on our Roscommon Hospice, which will be completed next year. Thank you to everyone who supported this event – it is because of you that we can continue the work we do”.
The week of ‘Facebook Lives’ was provided courtesy of the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School and funded by – The Department of Culture, Heritage and The Gaeltacht / Mayo County Council / Kilmovee Bingo and Comhaltas. A special word of thanks to Minister Michael Ring, Senator John O’Mahony and Councillors John Caulfield and Gerry Murray for helping to secure this sponsorship.
Kilmovee is already looking forward to the 10th Annual Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School which will take place from Sunday, 27th June to Friday, 2nd July 2021.