Patrons enjoyed an incredible night of musical excellence at the 30th Anniversary Gala Concert celebrating the foundation of St Canice’s Instrumental Music Programme. It was a showcase of current musicians in the school and of several artists who have gone on to become renowned musicians in their own right, such as Maria Ryan (current holder of the Heineken violin); David O Leary, Alison Comerford and Mark O Leary.
It marked the debut of St Canice’s Gateway Orchestra, a very special adult orchestra of amateur musicians. Eamon Cahill, synonymous with teaching jazz featured two of his jazz bands. It was a night of musical diversity; from French horn, and trombone, played by brother and sister Muireann and Lorcan Brennan to violin and flute, played by Aisling O Dwyer-O Brien and John Donovan. One of the highlights was the performance of Mendelssohn’s “Octet for Strings”. Maria Ryan, violinist played Tchaikovsky’s “Melodie” followed by the frenetically paced “Banjo and Fiddle” by Kroll. David O Leary, violinist with the English National Opera, played ‘Carmen Fantasy’ by Sarasate and received a standing ovation. St Canice’s Senior Orchestra, conducted by Ruth O Leary, closed the show. For many of the older children on stage, it marked their last time in the familiar red orchestra sweatshirt, as they leave for secondary school in September. The night would not be complete without special mention of the woman who made this all possible, Regina O Leary. She received a special presentation from her son David in recognition of her creation of a legacy of music for thousands of children in Kilkenny. Regina thanked all who contributed to the success of the programme over the last 30 years. Dublin conductor and adjudicator Dr Albert Bradshaw praised Regina for the profound impact she has had on the lives of so many through her work in music education.