Posted by: mdmusingsie | August 31, 2012

Summer is Winding Down

The days are noticeably shorter and the kids are heading back to school.  I could say the weather is getting cooler, but actually, August has been the best month of summer so far in Ireland this year.  Washed up memories of June and July have faded in the August sunshine.

All good things must end, as they say (whoever they are), and so it is true of this year’s Tunes in the Church concerts at St. Nicholas’ Collegiate Church in Galway.  Like the summer weather this year, attendance wasn’t up to par at the beginning, but with the arrival of stunning new banners and welcome sunshine, attendances has exploded.  I’m delighted not only for the Ph.D. candidate, jet setting, musician and organizer of the concerts, Cormac Begley, but for the myriad of people from all over the globe who were able to experience high caliber Irish music in such an intimate setting.  As Paraic MacDonnacha mentions, the acoustics are so good you get to hear all the mistakes as well (though I’ve found them to be few and well covered).   I’ve heard lots of amazing music by so many talented musicians and even learned about some new instruments including the Myckel harp or keyed fiddle. One night a Japanese musician named Junji Shirota was in the audience and came up on stage to play a few tunes, which goes to show just how universal Traditional Irish music has become. With the addition of fear an tí Chris and bean an tí Sandra (host and hostess), the events are coming into their own as this third year comes to a close.  I am proud to say I’ve attended concerts in all three years.

So what am I going to do with all the free time on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evenings?  Originally I thought to state that I would be working – spending the time writing instead of at the concerts, but that would be a misnomer.  Quite a few poems, bits of short stories, and ideas for my novels have come during the concerts – inspiration I may not have found sitting, staring at a computer screen.

Having expressed my love of the harp enough on this blog and to others at the concerts including newly arrived, self proclaimed Tunes groupie and bean an tí Sandra (who, after only 4 weeks of learning, played a concertina duet on stage with Cormac in front of nearly 50 people), I’m considering trying to learn the harp.  At an advancing age, one has to wonder if learning new tricks is still possible, but to paraphrase something Sandra said, if you don’t think you can learn something, you’re already defeated.  Positive thinking is step one.

I daresay, if I do embark on this venture, it will likely take me far more than 4 weeks to feel comfortable playing in public with anything more complex than Twinkle Twinkle Little Star.  After looking at harp prices, I’m not sure purchasing a harp is in my budget as I struggle to make my way into becoming a published writer, so it may remain nothing more than a pipe dream.  However, if it’s meant to be it will happen, and if there are any philanthropists out there reading this blog or anyone with a harp gathering dust in a closet or attic that they would consider loaning or donating, please get in touch.

I may not have these live concerts to entertain me until next year, but I do have the handful of CDs I’ve picked up there plus the others in my trad collection that will keep me company as I follow my literary and possibly musical pursuits.  Enjoy some photos from the last month or so.

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