5th Summer School 2015
The 5th Annual Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School which is held in Kilmovee, was the largest to date, with 263 pupils attending morning and afternoon classes in music, song, dance and Gaeilge.
The week started on Saturday, 27th June with a concert with the All-Ireland Senior Céilí Band Champions – The Knockmore Céilí Band from Fermanagh. The night opened with the launch of a new CD by local flute player Paul Smyth.
The Knockmore Céilí Band
This was followed on Sunday by Aifreann Gaeilge in Kilmovee and a Heritage Tour, visiting local historical and archaeological sites. The guest speaker for the tour was Dr Séamus Caulfield, famous for his discovery of the Céide Fields. Sunday night ended with a session in Spells Bar, Ballaghaderreen.
The Heritage Tour
Classes started on Monday with additional tutors added in Tin Whistle (Breda Shannon and Alannah Thornburgh), Fiddle (Síofra Mc Hugh), Bodhrán (Joe McNulty) and Comhrá Gaeilge (Deirdre Gordon). Other new tutors to the Summer School this year were Banjo (Theresa O’Grady) and Harp (Holly Geraghty).
Holly Geraghty – Harp Class
Theresa O’Grady – Banjo Class
On Monday evening the Summer School was officially opened by Colm O’Donnell, who delivered an array of songs and tunes in concert, supported by Maria Lynn McHugh on keyboard. This was followed by the monthly ‘Cois Tine’ Heritage Night, with local and visiting musicians, singers and dancers entertaining a packed audience.
Colm O’Donnell with Bea Anna & Fergal Smyth – Official Opening
Classes continued morning and afternoon Tuesday to Friday with nightly sessions in Duffy’s Four Ways (Kilmovee), Shazzy Macs (Kilkelly) and The Brusna Inn (Brusna). Each night started with a slow session where pupils got a chance to play tunes they had learned during the week, at a slower pace. This was followed by a session with tutors, visiting and local musicians, singers and dancers entertaining a large audience each evening.
Duffys Four Ways, Kilmovee
Shazzy Macs, Kilkelly
The Brusna Inn, Brusna
The Summer School came to a close on the Friday, with the closing concert and a performance by each class with their tutor delivered to a packed hall. A highlight of the evening was a 30 minute performance by the 15 to 18 year olds in Le Chéile. This class is managed by Cian and Caoimhe Kearins, with 20 young musicians receiving a high level of professional tuition and instruction. Along with the unique experience of engaging with performers of similar age, participants build upon repertoire, gain skills on how to arrange their music, song and dance and learn how to perform professionally.
The Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School is now an established event on the Summer School calendar, with pupils and visitors from across Ireland and overseas attending. It would not be possible to host without the sponsors, who ensure funding for the event annually.
Local politicians also helped secure funding, these included John O’Mahony T.D., Councillors John Caulfield, Tom Connolly and Gerry Murray. A huge thanks to everyone who helped organise and run the week including the Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School Committee, staff at the Kilmovee Community Centre and Cairdeas Family Resource Centre and all the wonderful volunteers who helped out during the week.
Feedback from everyone that attended the 5th Annual Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School was very positive. The 6th Annual Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School takes place July 3rd to July 8th 2016. For regular updates LIKE the Facebook Page – Seosamh Mac Gabhann Summer School or check the website – www.smgsummerschool.com.
Photographs courtesy of James Hunt