EXCITEMENT and energy radiated from the stage at the Hub last week as 1,200 children from schools all over counties Kilkenny, Carlow, and Tipperary joined the renowned Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland (CBOI) for Kilkenny Peace Proms 2012. A capacity audience attended this extraordinary event which was organised by the CBOI in association with Kilkenny Education Centre.
As this was the inaugural Peace Proms event, it was difficult to know what to expect. But the concert and all the elements far exceeded all expectations. The CBOI is not a “classical orchestra”. Their sound is new, rich and exciting and evokes the heritage and culture of our Island while communicating with audiences of every age. Their message of universal peace was powerfully conveyed at the Hub. The 110 member orchestra performed rousing and emotional anthems like “Amazing Grace” and “Highland Cathedral”, and newly commissioned works like “Crossing Borders” by IFTA winner and Oscar nominee Brian Byrne.
The CBOI’s soloists are regarded the best in Ireland. Patricia Treacy produced sublimely beautiful melodies on violin playing slow airs like “Ashoken Farewell” and then burst into sparkling virtuosity for Vivaldi’s “Storm” from the Four Seasons. Patrick Martin on Uilleann Pipes was brilliant in his performances of show stoppers like “Lord of the Dance” and a medley from “Horslips”; while Emmanuel Lawler wowed the audience as outstanding presenter and tenor. The CBOI’s imposing Drum and Piping Corps adds huge strength to the concerts, and the booming Lambeg Drum resonated like fireworks. These multiple elements were magically held together and driven by the legendary conductor, Maestro Gearóid Grant.
They combined choirs sang a sensational programme with the full symphony orchestra which ranged from peace anthems like “Let there be Peace on Earth” to “Blame it on the Boogie” which rocked the Hub and filled the auditorium with resounding joy. They were quite simply electric!! What a celebration this was. Standing ovations and tumultuous applause were the order of the day at these unique and special concerts. It was impossible to leave Kilkenny Peace Proms concert without feeling uplifted, renewed and full of hope for a brighter future.
Huge credit is due to the teachers from Kilkenny, Carlow, and Tipperary who participated in this programme. 28 primary schools took part in the programme. They have been working on the music and songs since September last and the vast amount of extracurricular work which they undertook certainly paid off.
The Director of Killkenny Education Centre, Paul Fields, was full of praise for the work of the orchestra and the 1200 children in the choir. “The standard of performance was most impressive and would grace any worldwide stage”, he said. “Its success is testament to the hard work put in by the organisers and by the teachers who have been busy teaching eight new pieces to the students over the past number of months,” he said.