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Arts & Culture

Shannon Musical Society Take Two AIMS Awards

Shannon Musical Society took home two of the three awards they were nominated for at the Association of Irish Musical Societies (AIMS) annual music theatre awards, which were held in Killarney at the weekend. The society, which staged Legally Blonde this year, scooped the Spirit of AIMS award, the Jan Canavan Trophy, for the Delta Nu sextet as well as the Mary Kitt Trophy for Best House Management. Commenting on the portrayal of the Delta Nus, the judges said the “the joint effort from the director, the choreographer and the stage manager saw six highly talented young performers not only act, sing and dance brilliantly as a team but their choreographed scene changes were a superbly original and creative feature of the show”. Karen Barrett of the society was also nominated for the Mary Kelly Award, which is a special award for the great contribution a person has given to a society. There were 11 nominees in this award category and unfortunately Karen lost out on the overall award. The society have recently announced that their show for next year will …

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Singing the blues in East Clare

DROMANDOORA will play host to UK British Blues Award winner Bex Marshall, at a venue that hopes to introduce East Clare audiences to an eclectic mix of performers. Bex has toured the UK, USA and Brazil in the last 12 months alone and has performed at Clonakilty Guitar Festival, headlined Crane Lane Theatre in Cork and The Rуisнn Dubh in Galway. Now she and  her three-piece band will take to the stage at Sam Doyle’s Music Club on Friday night. The British artist was nominated to the top three in Best Solo/Acoustic Artist 2015 in the European Blues Awards and won an award at the UK Blues Awards 2013 for Best British Blues Vocalist and Album. She has been compared to Bonnie Raitt, Joan Armatrading and Janis Joplin. Bex was personally chosen by Sam Andrew, Janis Joplin’s guitarist throughout her career, to be the voice of Janis on his 2014 European tour with San Francisco Nights. Ennis man Aiden O’Neill …

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Star Wars filming at Loop Head

STAR Wars is in Clare this week, with filming of Episode VIII taking place at Loop Head. It is sure to attract huge interest from fans of the franchise and Loop Head Lighthouse has been closed to facilitate it, while an effective no-fly zone has been established. Ger Dollard, Interim Chief Executive of Clare County Council said,”The choosing of the Loop Head Peninsula as a filming location for such a large production highlights its status as an international destination as well as its growing reputation for fantastic scenery.  Loop Head’s inclusion in this film production builds on the work done by the local community and Loop Head Tourism in promoting the area and creating a unique tourism product built around responsible and sustainable tourism.” He added, “”Clare County Council will close Loop Head Lighthouse, one of the Great Lighthouses of Ireland and one of two Signature Discovery Points in County Clare along the route of the Wild Atlantic Way, from Tuesday May 17 …

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Story inspiration spans 100 years

FROM inspiring the babies of tomorrow to exploring transgender issues, this year’s Clare Champion Short Story Competition winners were diverse and progressive. While some looked to the past for inspiration, particularly with the 1916 commemorations, others were firmly rooted in the present. This year’s senior winner was Faye Curran from Coláiste Muire, Ennis, who is no stranger to the competition. Faye’s story 16 Years/16 Lessons was about passing on words of wisdom to the next generation. “It’s basically a letter to every baby that will be born this year about 16 things I’ve learned,” she said. Inspired by a Róisín Ingle novel, Faye thought it would be a good idea to explore it further. The story aims to steer them away from embarrassing themselves, like she has in the past, while she also talks about issues her friends are dealing with and how they can stay positive. Transgender issues was the theme of the next two winners in the senior …

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Young folk doing old stuff

ST Joseph’s Secondary School in Tulla were this week treated to a lunchtime concert by a young group of visiting traditional musicians from Vermont in the United States. The Young Tradition Touring Group, made up of 19 musicians aged between 12 and 19, are currently touring the West of Ireland and have stopped in Clare for performances in The Powerhouse in Tulla, Pepper’s and Shortt’s in Feakle. The group play North American traditional tunes, as well as Appalachian music, Cajun and some bluegrass. They also dance during their performances. The musicians are being hosted in Clare by Mary MacNamara and her group of young East Clare musicians. As part of this, they performed a lunchtime concert in the secondary school in Tulla on Wednesday for students and teachers. Students at St Joseph’s also played music, sang and danced for the visiting group. Most of the visiting group members are from Vermont, although a few hail from as far as Maine, …

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Zoe on top of the world

A Clarecastle woman has danced her way to the top of the world. Zoe Griffin has been named senior ladies champion at the World Irish Dancing Championships in Glasgow. “I’m delighted, this is always something that I wanted to do and I couldn’t believe it when it happened. When I went to the competition I was aiming for top five but to win, I’m just delighted,” the 21-year-old told The Clare Champion. Zoe was just three-weeks-old when she first visited Scoil Uí Ruairc School of Irish Dancing accompanying her older sister Sonya. “I’m part of the furniture now,” she laughs. She explains, “My sister was a dancer so I just went with her. She was eight and I was only a baby then, I suppose I was born into it.” Zoe was among the 14 solo qualifiers and a céilí team from Scoil Uí Ruairc to compete in Glasgow. Collectively, the dance school have brought home a world championship, two …

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Singing the praises of Bushypark

Music lovers are in for a rare treat this Friday night in Ennis with a concert featuring the award-winning Seoda Chamber Choir and renowned singer-songwriter Lucinda Drayton. The fundraising concert in the Templegate Hotel is in aid of the local Bushypark Treatment Centre which does tremendous work to support individuals and their families struggling with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions. The Seoda Chamber Choir from Limerick is a talented group of female friends who share a love of choral music and fun. Together they have created a magnificent sound under the very talented director, Máire Keary Scanlon. Now in their eleventh year together, Seoda has travelled extensively both at home and abroad and has achieved many accolades and tremendous success in competitions and performances alike. The choir reached a gold standard at the Prague Choral Festival in October 2015 and Máire Keary Scanlon won the Best Director of the Festival Award. “We like to sing popular songs that people will …

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Olivier award for Ennis actress

Ennis actress Denise Gough has been named Best Actress in this year’s Olivier Awards for her critically acclaimed role in the play People, Places and Things. The actress from College Green was the bookies favourite to take the award where she was up against actresses including Nicole Kidman, Gemma Arterton, Janet McTeer and Lia Williams. Denise used her acceptance speech in London’s Royal Opera House to voice concern about the lack of diversity. The Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht, Heather Humphreys TD, has described Denise as “an ever rising star of stage and screen” as she congratulated both the Clare actress and other Irish winners. The Minister added, “When we see Irish successes on this scale at ceremonies such as the Olivier Awards, it underlines the importance, and indeed the benefits, of providing funding to Culture Ireland, which helps Irish artists to bring their work overseas and helps to showcase Irish talent internationally.” Critics have been raving about …

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