Stunning concert to celebrate club centenary

Sibéal who will perform at the Danesfort concert

A seed bearing fruit – an orchestra is born

As one drives through the flourishing countryside at this time of year one begins to notice the crops beginning to turn colour, signifying that a rich harvest is about to come to fruition. These fragile seeds sown in rich soil in deep winter and early spring have germinated and grown. Carefully tended by intuitive farmers, they have been fertilized, put their heads above ground, turned fields of brown earth to deep green stalks, and ripening to a deep yellow forming full heads of grain which, when harvested, will be gathered into barns eventually giving nourishment to all.

Such has been the evolving growth of the newly formed Danesfort GAA Orchestra which are in advanced stages of preparation for a Centenary Concert to Celebrate 100 years of Danesfort GAA Club founded in 1922. In the winter of 2019, a group of club members set about envisioning how the club would celebrate its centenary and commemorate its founders and the people who have been part of its 100 year journey. Initial meetings focused on seeking out and tapping into musical and acting talent within the club and wider community. The seed was sown. Then Covid hit. A global pandemic whose only certainty was uncertainty and drew a grey cloud over any plans for celebrating a centenary. However this did not deter the visionary group of people who kept hoping and kept planning.

As society slowly emerged from the most dangerous phases of the pandemic the Danesfort Centenary Committee re-engaged their plans with renewed hope and vigour.

In May of this year a small group of musicians and actors had their first rehearsal in the newly reopened lounge of Toby’s Bar and Bistro in Danesfort. Gradually the seeds of local talent began to pop their heads over ground and flourish to form an orchestra of 34 musicians, 11 actors and 1 dancer ranging from age 7 to 82.

As the weekly rehearsals have progressed it has become obvious to the group and the revelers who patronise Toby’s, that something special is happening. The music is beginning to ripen and become sweeter with each rehearsal. It has been inspiring to see young hurling and camogie players coming to rehearsals straight from training with sweat beaded foreheads and mud-streaked legs, swapping their hurleys for their instruments. Joined by their parents mentors and other community members who are taking part in the show, younger musicians are being coached by mentors, older players and peers in a symbiotic manner driven by their connection with club.

Just as the full harvest is gathered into barns, the swelling numbers of musicians and supporters have now had to move to a new larger rehearsal space in the barn of Robert Woodcock’s farmyard at Farmley House in Burnchurch who has been generous and welcoming to the orchestra. This is history repeating itself! Farmley House was once the stately residence of the Right Hon. Henry Flood, Member of the Irish Parliament from 1759 – 1761. In the 1780’s he was one of the first landed gentry in Ireland to open his home to travelling theatre companies for performances.

During the last two weeks of rehearsals the haunting sound of the Uileann Pipes and other instruments wafts its way from the barn carried by the night air to the surrounding hinterland.

On Friday the 15th of July at 8.30 the night air around Ballykeefe Amphitheatre will be filled with the gripping story of 100 years of Danesfort GAA club told through music, song, dance, comedy and imagery which captivates the mind, heart and soul. This truly unique show is the story of a club and the spirit of its people and will appeal to any person who is involved in their local GAA club. This is not to be missed.

Danesfort GAA & Camogie Club are delighted and honoured to welcome as their special guest performer Sibéal Ní Chasaide to perform her haunting and emotional song Mise Éire

In 2016, the poem was set to music composed by Patrick Cassidy and performed by the RTÉ Concert Orchestra with vocals by Sibéal Ní Chasaide, for the score of the PBS documentary series 1916: An Irish Rebellion, curated by the Keough-Naughton Institute for Irish Studies at the University of Notre Dame.

Sibéal will also perform other numbers from her new album on the night.

*The concert takes place at Ballykeeffe Amphitheatre On Friday July 15 at 8.30/

Phone: Eimear 086- 1786567 Maryanne: 086-1666547, Sandra: 087-9447159

Orchestra members pictured at Burnchurch castle
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