Music Generation Kilkenny was officially launched on Thursday 28 November at a special event in the Springhill Court Hotel, featuring music and song from primary school students participating in the programme.
The launch was attended by the Mayor of Kilkenny Martin Brett and Eileen Curtis, Chief Executive of Kilkenny and Carlow Education and Training Board (KCETB), which leads the Music Generation programme for County Kilkenny. Speaking at the event Eileen Curtis said: 'The framework is in place for a strong music education programme in Kilkenny to reflect the strength of the city. It will help young people to realise their best possible self in music and explore themselves in a musical capacity.'
Also speaking at the launch, Peter Cleere, Chairman of KCETB and Kilkenny County Council said: 'Music is for everybody, it is for all. It is very important for everybody and affects all aspects of our lives.” He also commented that: “Anything Kilkenny put their hand to will be a success – Music Generation Kilkenny will be a pinnacle of success around the country.'
Music Generation is Ireland’s national music education programme, initiated by Music Network and co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, the Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships. The programme seeks to transform the lives of children and young people ages 0-18 by creating access to high quality, affordable music tuition in their localities.
Kilkenny was selected for participation in Music Generation through a competitive application process in 2017. The bid was led by KCETB in partnership with Kilkenny County Council.
Speaking at the event on Thursday evening Mary Mulholland, Director of Services at Kilkenny County Council said: 'Kilkenny County Council is delighted to partner with KCETB and Music Generation on this wonderful initiative. The Music Generation funding, together with funding from Kilkenny County Council and KCETB, will enable us to work closely to provide high quality performance music education to children and young people across the county.'
Sinead Blanchfield, Music Generation Development Officer for Kilkenny, hosted launch proceedings. Sinead was appointed to the post of Music Generation Development Officer in 2019, in order to manage overall development and implementation of the programme across the county.
Following an initial planning and development phase, Music Generation Kilkenny commenced its first singing programmes in primary schools in Castlecomer and Thomastown in September this year, with further expansion to follow in January 2020. As part of these programmes, full class groups already enjoy the opportunity to engage in inclusive, creative music-making experiences with skilled professional musician educators.
Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation, attended the launch evening. Commenting on the wonderful performance by the children of St. Brendan’s National School Muckalee and the Presentation Primary School Castlecomer, she said: 'I am inspired by the richness in music making by these young people. It brings joy, fun, creativity, confidence, teamwork, dedication –there is no greater gift than musical possibility.'
At the launch, representatives from local music and arts services, schools, community groups, youth programmes and childcare committees had a chance to learn more about Music Generation Kilkenny as it plans its next steps. They saw first-hand the value and impact of musical participation for children and young people, as the budding musicians from the Muckalee and Castlecomer National Schools share their music-making together with Music Generation Kilkenny tutors Barbara Kelly and Clare Kilkenny.