Music Generation, together with Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB), is delighted to announce the appointment of Irish soprano, recording artist, vocal coach and music educator Sinéad Blanchfield to the role of Music Generation Development Officer for Kilkenny.
In her new post Sinéad will develop and oversee an affordable, accessible programme of performance music education for children and young people ages 0 to 18 across the County. This will include building partnerships with music and arts tuition services in the area and coordinating with schools, youth and community groups to create ensembles, choirs and other initiatives, embracing all musical genres and styles.
Under the leadership of KCETB and in partnership with Kilkenny County Council, Music Generation Kilkenny is one of 22 cities and counties now participating in Ireland’s national music education programme. Initiated by Music Network in 2010, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.
Sinéad’s appointment is an important milestone in the development of Music Generation Kilkenny, marking the beginning of a focussed phase of planning which will build towards the implementation of a full and comprehensive programme of vocal and instrumental tuition later in 2019.
Commenting on her appointment Sinéad said: ‘I’m thrilled to return to my native Kilkenny to take up this new role as Music Generation Development Officer. Music has always played such an important role in my life, from my very earliest beginnings singing and playing piano, through my years of study, training and performance. As a mentor and educator I’ve seen the enormous difference that music can make in young people’s lives, developing skills, confidence and creativity. I’m excited and energised to create access to these same inspiring opportunities for many more children and young people within our local communities and to build on Kilkenny’s already rich musical landscape.’
Born in Kilkenny, Sinéad is an international Irish soprano who has performed in concerts and recitals at major venues and festivals across Europe. Sinéad is a music educator, having taught in schools and at the University of Limerick, and is also a voice coach and singing teacher to adults and children in her private practice. She holds a BA Hons degree in music, a postgraduate diploma in education and a postgraduate award in performance from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester. As a classical crossover artist Sinead has produced and performed her one woman shows drawing on the depth and beauty of the Irish/Celtic songs she sang as a child, combined with her years of experience in the classical arena. Sinéad began her musical journey singing and studying piano and has amassed numerous television and radio appearances across UTV, BBC and RTÉ. In recent years Sinéad has built a strong reputation on the European classical opera circuit.
Commenting on the announcement, Chief Executive of KCETB Eileen Curtis said: ‘We’re delighted to announce Sinéad’s appointment to this pivotal role at Music Generation Kilkenny, which will enable programme set-up to get underway. Sinéad’s extensive professional music career and her rich experience in music education and consulting will be invaluable in the post. We very much look forward to working with Sinéad over the coming years to create access to new musical opportunities for children and young people throughout Kilkenny.’
Kilkenny was among nine new areas of Ireland selected for participation in Music Generation’s second phase in September 2017, following an open national call for applications from new Local Music Education Partnerships (LMEPs). Expansion of the Music Generation initiative into Kilkenny was made possible as a result of philanthropic donations by U2 and The Ireland Funds, which will seed-fund 50% of the costs of establishing the programme during a three-year set-up phase. Kilkenny LMEP will also generate a further 50% in funding locally. This matched funding will then be sustained on a long-term basis by the Department of Education and Skills once the philanthropic donations cease.
Welcoming the announcement of Sinéad’s appointment, Colette Byrne, CEO of Kilkenny County Council, said: ‘We are delighted to be partnering with KCETB and Music Generation on this wonderful initiative. The Music Generation funding, together with funding from Kilkenny County Council and the KCETB, will enable us to work closely to provide high quality performance music education to young people across the county.’
Further information about Music Generation Kilkenny is expected to be announced over the coming months.