Longford County Arts Office has just announced the awarding of three bursaries for Longford singers and musicians to attend the internationally acclaimed Irish Youth Choir Residential Summer Course and the World Harp Congress in Vancouver.
The successful singers were Kevin Farrell from Ardagh and Aisling McCarthy from Newtownforbes and they received financial support to assist them in attending the Irish Youth Choir’s residential summer course at the University of Limerick.
Kevin Farrell from Ardagh is studying for a degree in Music and Religious Education in Mater Dei Institute, in Dublin. He has always had an interest in music and has played guitar in bands for a number of years, including Roulette, The Snares, The Fans and Crazy Old Maurice.
He also plays piano and mandola. Kevin is a member of the choir in Mater Dei and also the Ardagh Church choir and studied music for Leaving Certificate with Maria McCann.
Aisling McCarthy from Newtownforbes is also studying music and religion in the Mater Dei Institute of Education. She started singing lessons with Derek Mahady when she was 12 and continued in college with Alan Leech. Aisling is currently studying for Grade 8 in singing and has received a higher achievers award and the silver medal.
She has been in numerous choirs such as the Riverside Chorus, the Newtownforbes choir and folk group, and now her college choir.
Aisling has been writing her own original music since she was 11 and in her spare time she sings with two bands, the Fans (formally known as the Snares) and Crazy Old Maurice.
She has supported artists such as Paddy Casey and Aslan and her plans for the future include continuing to write music, to teach music and to perform.
Travelling much farther a field is the Lanesboro-based young musician Alida Loftus
An accomplished harpist, pianist, violinist and cellist, Alida will use the bursary to further her harp studies internationally. In July she will perform at the World Harp Congress in Vancouver. This is a great honour and opportunity for a young Irish harpist to perform with some of the greatest harpists from over thirty seven countries worldwide.
On August 11th Alida will perform at the National Concert Hall in Dublin with world renowned Latin American harpist Alfredo Rolando Ortiz. Alida also leads the Windsong
Harp Ensemble and they will join her at the National Concert Hall and also at International harp Master Classes and Workshops in Lanesboro in August.
County Arts Officer Fergus Kennedy commented, “We are constantly exploring ways to provide the most efficient direct professional development supports to our local artists. These new bursaries, offered on a pilot project basis, will provide an interesting indication as to the suitability of this approach.
“If successful, and if the bursary recipients find the experience sufficiently worthwhile we will try to source funding in 2012 for additional bursaries which will be made available to artists in other disciplines on a competitive basis.”