A wonderfully relaxed and enjoyable evening of music was held in the SMA house on the 10th June last. It was held by music teacher Ranveig Helene Nordbryhn, known also as Helene, as an end of year showcase for her students. Helene is a native of Norway who came to Galway some years ago and fell in love with it! She has several pupils in the Claregalway area as well as in Galway Technical Institute in Fr Griffin Road.
All ranges of ability performed at the Concert and the level of enthusiasm was high. Some of the younger pupils were giving their first public performance. Indeed several of Helene’s students had only been studying with her for one term, but were still able to go to their instrument and play a piece, even it if was just a simple one handed piece. These were the most charming performances, to hear someone just starting, having the confidence of playing in front of an audience. While there was no stiffness and formality, the more able and older students would have been at home in front of any audience, such was their skill.
Local talent was represented by Laura McCaul, Siobhán Bratt, Patrick Farrell and Catherine Hession. If the essence of music is to communicate, then what came through this evening were smiles and joy. These students are fortunate to have a teacher whose love of music shines through all she does, and which is so obviously being transmitted to them. This, along with the hard work they have put in, coupled with their talent, will give them much pleasure in the years to come.
This evening also saw another musical milestone—it was the debut of the recently formed Abbey Singers. Called after the local landmark, they are a group of local singers whose talents are more often on display through the local church choir—Patricia McCaul, Josette Farrell, Jenifter Donaghy, Celia Fleming, Karina Keane, Mary Casserly, Margaret Kearney. Pianist was Mary Rose Finlan, Conductor was Tessa Tiernan and song arrangement by Mary Tansey.
It is a wonderful thing to see people giving expression to their talent. Their classical dress and orchid corsages lent an elegance to the evening and a suitable visual echo of their repertoire.
Their beautifully harmonious voices gave new depth to such classics as Amazing Grace, Guten Abend, and Whispering Hope. Their final song, Carribean Melody, which wound up the evening, was as full of joy and melody as the whole show had been.
The SMA Fathers were complimented on their pleasant and accessible facility, and thanks were also expressed to all those who helped with refreshments. We were also entertained by Epona—a group from Galway whose repertoire is mainly medieval. They even appeared in medieval costumes at one stage, lending a kind of magic to the evening. While it was the first outing for the Abbey Singers, it would be a great shame if it were also the last. Such local talent is heartening to see, and I hope they will reach a wider audience in the future.