Historic start to 2019 for Mayo Concert Orchestra as Fáinne Óir rehearsals commence

In the flow - Musical Director and Composer, Kathy Fahey, conducting Mayo Concert Orchestra at a concert held in the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar. Photo: Alison Laredo.

In the flow - Musical Director and Composer, Kathy Fahey, conducting Mayo Concert Orchestra at a concert held in the Church of the Holy Rosary, Castlebar. Photo: Alison Laredo.

The premiere of an original 90-minute music and dance orchestral composition by Mayo composer and Musical Director, Kathy Fahey, is to be performed by Mayo Concert Orchestra at a gala event in Castlebar later this year, before the work is taken to the stage in New York.

Entitled ‘Fáinne Óir (Ring of Gold ), the complete 90-minute work - which is being co-produced by Ms Fahey with Diaspora Engagement Specialist, Mike Hannon of the County Mayo Foundation - will first be performed at a gala event at the Royal Theatre Castlebar on September 20, 2019, during which music, song, narration and dance will tell the story of an Irish family fighting for survival through the Famine years.

The specially commissioned work, which will later travel to New York, covers themes of happy and sad times in the life of the family as hunger, tragedy and emigration force parents and children apart.

Thankfully, a move to faraway New York in America provides a new refuge of hope – ultimately opening the door for love to triumph over all.

Rehearsals for Fáinne Óir commenced last week and will continue weekly as the various string, percussion, brass and wind-instrument sections of Mayo Concert Orchestra, under the direction of Ms Fahey, come to grips with this original work and learn to 'feel' the music.

Steeped in Irish culture, identity and history, once ready for the stage, this original work will no doubt resonate with Irish people at home and the diaspora abroad, opening a new opportunity to celebrate our Irish nation, heritage and our people with a modern audience.

Following the first orchestra practice during which the musicians explored and generated initial sounds for the first three pieces of the fifteen-piece complete work, Musical Director and composer Kathy Fahey commented: "The first live rehearsal of scores for Fáinne Óir was exhilarating and nerve wracking all together. My main worry was that the musicians may not like my compositions that much, as they are, in more recent times, accustomed to playing Vivaldi, Handel and now Karl Jenkins, with a little Sean Keane in between!

"It was amazing to hear 30 musicians come together on my own creation, the sound was even better than I had imagined. And I think they all liked the music. It will indeed be a task to have the music ready for the world premiere on September 20 this year, but in my two and a half years conducting Mayo Concert Orchestra, they have never failed to impress me with their sheer dedication to music and the various projects presented to them and their belief in me as their conductor. Exciting times ahead!"

Explaining some of the background to her orchestral composition she added: "I developed the storyline with some initial help from my son Matthew, who is a lover of reading and the English language and has already received a Bórd Gáis Honorary Award for one of his own compositions."

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