5 young traditional musicians performing at the United Nations in February
On Sunday 9 February, five young traditional Irish musicians from the north-east region of Ireland travelled to New York to represent Music Generation and perform at an event at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York City. A full day of rehearsals took place on Monday 10th, which was the first time the musicians met with the Pihcintu Chorus and the UN Choir with whom they would be performing.
The excitement could barely be contained when the group found out they would be performing to an audience that would include former President of Ireland Mary Robinson (Chair of The Elders), António Guterres (UN Secretary General) and U2’s Bono (co-founder of the ONE Campaign) all of whom would also be taking part in the event. The event itself, the Irish Government’s launch of ‘Drive For Five’, a global call to action for the education of adolescent girls, took place on Tuesday 11th of February. It was one of many events organised by the Irish Government in a bid to win a term on the UN Security Council, a seat they won this week.
Upon hearing of the success of the bid, Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation said:
‘We are so proud of Kerrianne, Evelyn, Saoirse, Iarla and Kim. As young musicians they represented Ireland on such a prestigious global platform and played a really important part in this historic achievement for our country. Their involvement is a brilliant example of how young people, through the power of music-making, can make a real difference in the world.’
Drogheda born Geraldine Byrne Nason, Irish Ambassador to the UN, introduced the young musicians before an audience of some 500 guests in the Trusteeship Council Chamber. The five talented young musicians who travelled to New York were Kerrianne McArdle (Flute); Evelyn McCaul (Harp); Saoirse McGahern (Bodhrán); Iarla McMahon (Uilleann Pipes); and Kim Poole (Fiddle). Originally these young musicians came together through their membership of ‘Nós Nua – Louth Youth Folk Orchestra’, a collaborative initiative between Music Generation Louth and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann in Ireland’s north-east region (based at The Oriel Centre, Dundalk Gaol). Together with members of the UN Choir and the Pihcintu Multicultural Chorus – a choir of immigrant and refugee girls based in Portland, Maine – their performance rounded out this high profile launch event, which was hosted by the Permanent Mission of Ireland.
Following the launch at UN headquarters the Irish musicians along with their mentors Rosaleen Molloy (Music Generation) Gemma Murray (MG Louth), Kay Webster (CCÉ) & Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla (MG Louth) had an opportunity to meet Bono and were then whisked away to the nearby Permanent Mission of Ireland where they entertained the Ambassador and her guests. There they had the opportunity to chat with Mary Robinson, Ambassador Nason and former Ambassador to Thailand, now Deputy Secretary of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Brendan Rogers who originally hails from Hackballscross, Co.Louth.
With such a busy schedule there was little time to see the sights of New York but before their flight home on Wednesday, the group managed to visit the Top of the Rock, F.A.O Schwarz, Grand Central Station.
Each of the five young people, ranging in age from 15-17, has previously been involved in various music programmes and initiatives led by Music Generation Louth and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann at The Oriel Centre, Dundalk Gaol including Nós Nua, Louth Youth Folk Orchestra. Established in 2017, the 57-member Nós Nua has previously performed at the IAYO Festival of Youth Orchestras in the National Concert Hall and at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann. The Orchestra has been featured twice on Fleadh TV and later this year it was due to perform brand new music commissioned for them by previous BBC Radio 2 Musician of the Year, Mohsen Amini, funded by the Arts Council Young Ensembles Scheme.
With all events now cancelled they have been working remotely, connecting with Mohsen and their mentors on zoom, and making collaborative videos to showcase some of their work. Their second video is due out shortly so tune into their socials for further information. It will also be available here on the Music Generation website.
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