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Fiddles at the ready in Ennistymon for a very good cause

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ON NOVEMBER 28, the Ennistymon Vocational School will host their annual concert in aid of the friends of Ennistymon Hospital. The concert takes place at the Falls Hotel, where an eclectic mix of both students and surprise personalities within the traditional music scene in North Clare will come together, united through the custom of music, song and dance, in what Principal Elizabeth Flanagan calls, “the continuum of community liaise”. Doors will open at 7:30 sharp.

This special amalgamation of both young and old comes off the back of a lunchtime performance at the World Academy of Music, in the University of Limerick. Spraoi agus Spleodar took place on Wednesday the 13th of November, for the fifth year in a row.

Principal Flanagan commends the congeniality shown by the World Academy in accommodating Ennistymon Vocational School and its troupe of traditional adolescent talent, “Because we have an interest in trad in North Clare and the fact that a lot of our students are very good trad musicians, we wanted to give them a forum to explore this. It gives them an opportunity to perform in a professional theatre which is a fantastic experience for them. They really rise to the occasion and we are very grateful to UL for facilitating us. We then schedule our local concert for two weeks after this, so that the kids are fresh, whereby one automatically leads to another.”

The annual concert taking place at the Falls Hotel runs for two hours and involves local musicians as well as past pupils of the school. Elizabeth refrains from unveiling the identity of a selection of well-known local musicians and singers that are scheduled to perform on the night, allowing parochial anticipation to arise. The concert is akin to longstanding communal customs in the heart of North Clare, home of traditional Irish music, with the involvement of, “students from first year right up to leaving cert. These students in final year performed in their first year so it’s a long tradition. What we have noticed is that students would help one another, critique one another and support one another. We have a great mix of dancing, we have traditional dancing as well as bush dancing, and we love seeing past pupils coming back to perform.”

One of the most important elements of the concert is its ties to the Friends of Ennistymon Hospital and the fruitful togetherness of community spirit and engagement. In the eyes of the principal, it’s about giving something back to the community and a major concert for the hospital, “every year we raise between two and a half to three thousand euros for the hospital and we are very happy to do that. I would see it as part of the community from the very young to the very old, it’s all a part of the cycle of life and everybody is a valued member of the community.”

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