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Over 130 young musicians gather in Laois for the 4th annual Tionol, a celebration of harps and pipes

MGL Tionol Concerts Workshops 560x373

Images: Denis Byrne

Music Generation Laois welcomed over 130 young harpers and pipers to Portlaoise for its 4th annual Tionól from the 1-3 November. Young musicians and a team of 23 tutors took part in this national gathering, which brings together young harpers, pipers and their tutors from Music Generation partnerships across Ireland for a weekend of workshops, masterclasses, sessions, reed-making and concerts. The Tionól also catered for non-Music Generation students who attended as day students.

Guest musicians included Maeve Gilchrist (harp), Kathleen Loughnane (harp), Michael Rooney (harp), Siobhan Buckley (harp), Anne-Marie O'Farrell (harp), Lauren O'Neill (harp), Grainne Hambly (harp), Billy Jackson (harp), Rachel Duffy (harp), Deirdre Ní Bhuachalla (harp), Jill Devlin (harp), Jarlath Henderson (pipes), Mark Redmond (pipes), Leonard Barry (pipes), Peter Browne (pipes), Tim Doyle (pipes), James Mahon (pipes), Martin Tourish (piano accordion), and Mexican band Tlen Huicani fronted by harper Alberto de la Rosa.

This year’s Opening Gala Concert on Friday 1 November in the Dunamaise Arts Centre featured the world premiere of 'White Horses', a new suite of music composed by Maeve Gilchrist, commissioned by Music Generation Laois for the Music Generation Laois Harp Orchestra and supported by Creative Ireland Laois. This concert also featured previous commissioned works by Martin Tourish ('Visions & Voices' for the Music Generation Laois Trad Orchestra in 2016) and Michael Rooney ('The Spirit of Laois Suite' for the Music Generation Laois Harp Orchestra in 2017).

Maeve spoke about the new composition for the Harp Orchestra in an episode of 'The Open Door' on Midlands 103.

On Saturday 2 November harp ensembles and Uilleann Pipe groups from across Ireland, plus a youth group from Colombia, were showcased in Portlaoise Further Education and Training Centre. Meanwhile the Mexican 5-piece band, Tlen Huicani, along with Music Generation Laois harp students and uilleann pipe students travelled to RTE studios to perform 'La Bamba' live on the Ray D’Arcy TV Show.

Speaking after the event, Development Officer of Music Generation Laois, Rosa Flannery said, "Tionól 2019 was an inspirational festival in the event's history. We welcomed musicians from Derry, Donegal, Louth, Tyrone, Monaghan, Armagh, Sligo, Laois, Westmeath, Mayo, Wicklow, Waterford and Wexford and very special guests from Colombia. Our tutors came from far and wide also - Ireland, Scotland, New York and Mexico. The young harpers and pipers embraced every opportunity that came their way, performances, workshops, masterclasses and even a pipes clinic! I already can’t wait for Tionól 2020!"

Tionól is co-funded by the Music Generation/Arts Council Partnership.