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Mary Noonan, representing the Eimear Noonan Music Bursary, seated with the late Eli Murray's piano, and Katharina Baker, director of Coole Music. Photograph by John Kelly

Host of talent to seize the day for fundraising concert in Gort


SPRING is here, restrictions are lifted and music performers everywhere are ready and excited to rise and shine.

The annual Carpe Diem (Rise and Shine) concert makes a welcome return after its Covid-induced hiatus.

The brainchild of Coole Music School’s director, Katharina Baker, Carpe Diem is the theme for a series of commemorative fundraising concerts in memory of Eimear Noonan, and Eli Murray, two avid young musicians, who died tragically in 2017 and 2019 respectively.

The late Eimear Noonan playing violin

The 2021 concert, postponed due to ongoing pandemic concerns, will now be staged in Gort on Saturday, April 2, in Sullivan’s Hotel, at 7.30pm.

This uplifting concert entitled Carpe Diem, Rise and Shine, celebrates a return to performing live music by young people and spans many genres.

Seasoned performers of traditional and contemporary music, joining the young people, will enhance the proceedings.

Irish conductor Sinead Hayes is usually found working with choir, orchestra and operas but on April 2 she will be present as master of ceremonies in Sullivan’s Hotel.

Sinead collaborated with Coole Music last year to produce an award-winning project centred around the life and music of Turlough O’Carolan.

The concert line-up is dazzling and starts of on a high note with Siobhan Brady, renowned Limerick harpist, who also happens to hold the World Record for the Highest Harp Concert at 5000m on the Himalayas, India!

To save you a trip to the National Concert Hall, Coole Music’s Youth Orchestra will amaze you. They were recently awarded for their high-quality online productions during Covid. They play any kind of music from classical to traditional, from contemporary to film scores.

Then there’s Sonic Strings, also born of Coole Music, is a smaller teenage ensemble ‘on the move’ and with their highly entertaining acts have been invited to tour different places including Sweden and France.

For some traditional flavour there’s John Keehan who is Eimear’s uncle.

His debut album Humours of Scariff is a compilation of many of his own tunes as well as others he has collected. Eimear’s Hornpipe was composed following the death of his beautiful and vivacious niece.

The Guaire Trad Group with Tim Collins will also bring plenty of tapping feet to the concert.

Musical numbers by the stars of Gort Community School’s Musical ‘Back to the 80’s’ will have their time on the Carpe Diem stage despite not being able to produce the school show this year.
This is such an opportunity for them to shine especially after the last two years.

Several past Bursary recipients who will perform on the night include Eoghan Power (Killaloe/Ballina) who from an early age has won top awards in his piano exams.

He not only plays like a maestro but also composes and performs complex and challenging classical pieces on the piano while experimenting with other genres. It’s no wonder that Eoghan won an Award of Excellence in Composition and Performance in 2019.

Sarah Hannify (Clarinbridge) received an Award of Excellence in 2020-21 for her outstanding dedication as a musician. Sarah’s passion is the viola but she also plays the tin whistle, piano, fiddle, guitar and low flute!

She is currently a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. She has been a member of local and national orchestras as well as a member of Welsh and Scottish National Youth Orchestras.

The concert also features ’Burren Con Brio’ -a family Quartet from North Clare also students of Coole Music and who used the lockdown to practice a ‘little more’ as a quartet. The Farrell quartet were crowned Ireland’s most entertaining family when they won the Realta agus Gaolta (TG4) final in December 2020.

The eldest member Shónagh now studies music and french in UCD and was also a recipient of a Bursary in 2020-21.

Community talent is increasingly obvious when you hear Kinvara Community Orchestra with its 40 strong members perform under the baton of Garry O’Briain and musical leadership of Rozanne Botha, all brought together by Fiona Buckley.

The curiously named Tangerine Parking Lot Band will also make a welcome appearance on the night – they will really put a smile in your heart!

They feature Naima Baker on cello, Aoibhin Twomey as vocalist and on ukulele and Siofra McGuire on percussion.

The band will also be joined by some friends to remember a dear young school friend – Eli Murray another talented musician who was also taken much too soon from this life.

All proceeds from the night go directly towards supporting music education and performance opportunities for talented young people.

A music bursary has been formed by the Noonan family and to date 21, third level students have been awarded.

Funds also go towards supporting the dynamic Coole Music and Arts School, local secondary school music departments, UCC Orchestra and local CCE groups.

This year, five of the bursary awardees will be showcased. It’s a night not to be missed!

Tickets for what is normally a sell-out concert are available in advance at Sullivan’s Hotel, Gort and Scariff Credit Unions and online from Eventbrite under the concert title Carpe Diem Rise and Shine.

For those who wish to make a donation and cannot attend the concert they can do so through idonate.ie by searching Carpe Diem Rise and Shine or by contacting Coole Music or Carpe Diem Rise and Shine Facebook pages.

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