Manotick Brass in Ireland

Manotick Brass

The members of the ensemble and their spouses left Ottawa on Sunday September 14, arriving in Dublin on Monday September 15 for a two week playing trip in Ireland.  Monday was taken with settling into the Premier Apartments in Sandyford, our home for the next six days.  The following day, Tuesday, the group travelled from Dublin to Wicklow for a performance at the Dominican College, a high school for girls.

 

Manotick Brass with teachers at Dominican College

The first public concert was held on Thursday evening September 18 at the National Maritime Museum of Ireland located in Dun Laoghaire just to the south of Dublin. The Museum is housed in the former Mariner’s Church built in 1837,

To complement this unique venue Manotick Brass presented a musical program titled “Waltzing on Water” made up entirely of tunes with either a nautical or maritime theme.  The acoustics in the Church were astounding and certainly encouraged the players to excel much to the delight of the audience.  Check out the acoustics with these two short pieces from Handel’s “Water Music”

 

The following day, Friday September 19, the Manotick Brass performed a lunchtime recital at St. Ann’s Church one of the larger city churches located on Dawson Street in the centre of Dublin.  This program featured music that linked Canada and Ireland.

On Sunday September 21 the group checked out of the Premier Apartments and headed north to the town of Virginia, about an hour and a half north of Dublin. Enroute a stop was made to view the historic Tower of Kells.  On arrival in Virginia the group was welcomed by their hosts John and Ann Brodie, John being an old school colleague of Martin Luce.  A Sunday afternoon tea and concert had been arranged in the brand new Show Centre which had just opened a month earlier.  Manotick Brass had the distinction of being the first musical group to perform in this wonderful venue.  The concert was titled “Biscuits and Brass” and following the concert everyone was served with a traditional cream tea, including home-made apple pie!

That evening the entire group along with their hosts enjoyed a beef and Guinness stew at the home of John and Ann Brodie.  Several members of the local community had offered to billet the members of the group overnight and this provided an opportunity for guests and hosts to become acquainted.  One of the hosts was an accordion player and brought out his accordion for the entertainment of the group.  Kazimier the first trumpet player with Manotick Brass is also an accomplished accordion player so the evening developed into a competition between Irish jigs and Polish polkas!

Students at Wilson's Hospital School demonstrate the art of buzzing

The next morning the members of Manotick Brass bad farewell to their wonderful hosts in Virginia and set off through back country roads to find the village of Multifarnham and their next stop, the Wilson’s Hospital School.  After several false turns the group arrived at the school where they presented a 45 minute concert to an enthusiastic audience.  Following the concert the audience was instructed in the art of buzzing and some of the more advanced students were invited up to the stage to demonstrate their prowess accompanied by members of Manotick Brass.

From Multifarnham we headed to Galway for an evening rehearsal with the Cois Cladaigh with whom we were performing in Clifden on the following Saturday.  Then it was on to Clifden our home for the next 6 days.

In late September Clifden is the home of the Clifden Arts Festival and Manotick brass had been invited to perform at this year’s festival.  Tuesday and Wednesday were sightseeing days and on Wednesday the entire group was hosted at a luncheon at the home of Mike and Maureen Ferris set in the hills of beautiful Connemara.  After a delightful lunch the players took their instruments out into the paddock in front of the house to serenade the local sheep!  Curious as they were the sheep decided to keep a safe distance hidden behind a stone wall!

On Thursday the brass received another enthusiastic reception during a concert performed at the Clifden high school.  Manotick Brass was featured at a lunch time recital in Christ Church, Clifden on Friday as part of the Arts Festival.  This was the first occasion in the history of the festival that a brass quintet had performed – let alone a brass quintet from Canada!   On Saturday at the same church Manotick Brass performed along with the Cois Cladaigh with the highlight of the evening being the Hodie Natus Christus est featuring brass and eight part voices.

On Sunday the Manotick Brass group bade farewell to Clifden and headed back to Dublin to connect with flights back to Canada taking with them many fond memories of two music packed weeks in the Emerald Isle.