Orchestras, Ensembles & Choirs

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Athenry  Youth Orchestra 

Athenry Youth Orchestra was founded by Katharine Mac Mághnuis so that the music students of east county Galway could experience ensemble music-making. Athenry Music School has the ethos of  a fun, positive and inclusive approach to music education, and these values extend to the orchestra. While the orchestras are housed in Athenry Music School, membership is open to any young musician. The ensembles are structured like youth clubs: the members have many responsibilities, including librarianship, press duties, tuning, and ‘set up’ and ‘tear down’! The Youth Orchestra repertoire is chosen to appeal to the members, with a special emphasis on recently composed works. As well as the commissioning and rehearsal of new works, performance is an integral part of the Athenry Music School ensemble experience. Every Christmas the senior ensembles work with local choirs in ‘A Union of Voices’, and each ensemble performs in a concert annually.

Every April, the numbers of Athenry Youth Orchestra are hugely augmented, as each member of AMS who can carry their instrument – over three hundred music students! – combines with the AYO to form ‘The Mega-Orchestra’. They have performed in Castalia Hall, Kilkenny, Galway Cathedral, the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Bunratty Hall and at the Sixmilebridge Winter Festival and have performed with Zoe Conway, Ailbhe Mc Donagh, Brendan Walshe, Yuki Nishioka, St Patricks Brass Band, Coole Youth Orchestra, The Young Singers from Canada and Austrian rock band The Talisman collection and give many local concerts. The performances are prepared in rehearsals that are lively, loud and hugely enjoyable, with many orchestral friendships being formed. 

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Athenry Horizons Orchestra

Founded in 2015 in response to the necessity for a third orchestra. Members range in age from 10-15 and we are very excited about our newest ensemble

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Athenry Creation Orchestra

Formerly Athenry Junior Orchestra, our youngest orchestra was founded in 2009. They have an  annual tour to Dublin, to collaborate with the Tyrrlestown Educate Together National School Xylophone orchestra where they do 3 concerts and then go for pizza and bowling! Members have responsibilities for setting up the orchestra room, music stand management, helping prepare the orchestra folders and librarianship duties.

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Athenry Guitar Orchestras                               

The Athenry Music School Guitar Orchestra was established in 2009 as an artistic and social outlet for local young classical guitarists. The last few years has seen the orchestra perform in a wide variety of settings including TV (with John Spillane on TG4), radio (on Flirt FM), and events and festivals including four years in the Galway Fringe Festival, the RTÉ Big Music Week, Múscailt, Coole Orchestras festival and more. They recently began recording a CD which they hope to release later in the year, with a single planned as a fundraiser for Crumlin Children’s Hospital. You can keep up to date through the Athenry Music School Facebook page, and the Orchestra’s Twitter account! Recordings of some performances are available to hear on Soundcloud and watch on our Youtube pageThe majority of the music performed by the Orchestra is composed especially for them, much of it composed by their founding director, Kevin Brett. 2014 saw the addition of a Junior Guitar Orchestra. This is aimed at introducing players to ensemble rehearsal and performance from an earlier stage in their musical development. Rehearsals for both orchestras take place on Tuesdays. Anyone interested in joining can contact aygorc@gmail.com.

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Athenry Cello Ensemble

Founded in 2014, this ensemble is the flagship of our cello department and intends to champion the beautiful sound of the cello to encourage uptake of the cello and double bass. All cello students are invited to participate in sectional rehearsals 6 times a year and perform in the music school’s annual gala concert.

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Cór le Chéile

Cór le Chéile Community choir was set up in September 2011 to provide an opportunity for community members to come together and sing. This dedicated group rehearse once a week in Athenry Music School. The choirs repertoire ranges from Lauridsen to Jenkins, musical numbers to traditional airs. They have performed at many concert and fundraising events. The only requirement for admission to the choir is a love of singing and a willingness to learn!

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Athenry Youth Choir

Consisting of twenty members, Athenry Youth Choir was founded by Helen Farrell in September 2012. The choir performs a wide variety of music including a cappella part songs, musical numbers, jazz and modern classics. Athenry Youth Choir perform at various community and fundraising events and at Athenry Music School’s annual A Union of Voices and MEGA Concert. The choir rehearse once a week and take part in choral workshops throughout the year. The choir is open to anyone aged 12-18 years.

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Cór le Kids

Athenry Music School’s childrens’ choir, Cór le kids, is two years in existence and has over 30 members. Over the past two years the choir has built up an exciting repertoire and performed at numerous events. The choir meet every Thursday evening.

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Outreach Programmes

We are very proud to have created six outreach programmes in local national and post primary schools. These range from individual tuition to group classes, from trombone to harp and from musicianship lessons to musical drama. Athenry Music School is delighted to have been able to donate instruments to many of these schemes and these instruments are provided free to the schools.

We are always enthusiastic in enabling these young people to join in social music making environments and to that end have founded 5 orchestras in our outreach programmes. These students are also welcome to join one of our other 6 orchestras in the music school. Due to this work, we were awarded the Irish National Award for the Development of Youth Orchestras in 2014.

Each of our outreach programmes are tailor made for the individual school. After a school expresses an interest in a programme, our music specialists meet with the principal, teachers and parents to design a programme which matches their vision and needs. We continue to support the programme for as long as they need or want us and are happy to provide performance opportunities for these young musicians within our music school schedule of events or to develop new events specifically for the school.

Athenry Music School OUTREACH Programmes are:-

Lisheenkyle national school string programme: Founded 2007
Crumlin national school stringendo project: Founded 2008
Gael Scoil Riada harp programme: Founded 2008*
Gairmscoil Mhuire cello project: Founded 2008
Monivea brass project: Founded 2012
Carnaun national school : music and drama project Founded 2015

*Director: Úna Ní Fhlannagáin