Home > Community Music > The end of another wonderful year

The end of another wonderful year

I blogged last month about getting back into work after becoming a mother and how difficult that has been, both professionally and personally.  Preparing to welcome another child into the world any day now I find myself looking back on the last semester. I have been involved in so many wonderful projects, some new and some ongoing, all of which brought new and interesting challenges. Lucky me! I have to remind myself that I am lucky, as difficult as it is at times. I am lucky.

The Learning Hub in particular takes care of its staff and volunteers, we are very much appreciated and it is said often. Not only is it said it is backed up with gestures and reminders of deadlines which leads me to believe that I am a valued member of the wider team and that, is an honour. As a freelancer this is rarely the case, and for me this is one of the main reasons why the Hub is as special as it is. 4 new groups and projects and 1 renewed at the Hub, I feel right at home.

One of the newer projects was with Focus Ireland –

Focus Ireland is a registered charity that works to prevent people becoming, remaining or returning to homelessness. The organisation was founded in 1985  by Sr. Stanislaus Kennedy, in response to the needs of a group of homeless women.  Focus Ireland’s vision is that ‘everyone has a right to a place they can call home’ and the organisation works to make this vision a reality for thousands of people every year.

http://www.focusireland.ie/index.php/who-we-are, 2013

A new venture for both myself and the local Focus Ireland office we set about tentatively laying out what our hopes were for the project. I really hoped people would turn up and continue with the programme each week, and you know what?? They did. All men, with an interest in music none of whom wanted to sing or song-write on the first day, ended up composing a tremendous song together and recording it at the Music Hub Studios. I particularly enjoyed the company of the group, working with adult men isn’t something I often get a chance to do. Men don’t tend to join the groups I have run now or in the past, they inspired me and most of all made me smile every week. The track is being mixed at the moment, but once it is available it will be posted here. I want to keep this kind of work up, being heavily involved in early years projects it is important to sing about things other than ducks and jungle trails..

Another group close to my heart is the Voice Club made up of Parkinson’s suffers and their partners/carers. This term we have been practicing a range of Sea Shanties! As I type they are up in Sligo singing away, I am so proud! Being so close to becoming a mother again I couldn’t run the risk of giving birth in Sligo, or worse again Mayo! So Ed Rice, Billy’s son has joined the group with his guitar to accompany the rowdy Sea Worshipers! Billy is the founder of the Voice Club and is passionate about the positive affects and music and movement in terms of the disease.


The ‘Voice Club’ perform at the Rosses Point Sea Shanty Festival, 2013

One more thing before I go! When we started our ‘Pre-School to Big School’ music programme 3 years ago a young girl would sit beside me every Wednesday. I adored her, a real favourite of mine – I know we aren’t meant to have favourites but if you don’t, you lie! I actually taught her mother years ago in Céim ar Chéim, another story for another day. Anyway, I got the chance to work with her again this year in her ‘Big School’ . We invited parents into the school for an informal show and tell, in a circle I led the kids in song and action. In an attempt to get everyone going I said something like; ‘come on lads!’.  To which this young girl stood up in a heartbreakingly honest and vulnerable manner, said –

I know Julie, but ya see we are really nervous this morning and we are just getting going. OK? We are really nervous, but we will do our best, won’t we lads!!

Just one of the hundreds of reasons why I will keep doing what I do, as tough as it can be, much of the time.


Categories: Community Music
  1. June 16, 2013 at 11:39

    Quiet on your blog for so long, and then you come out with three cracking, thoughtful, shining posts about what you have been doing and why you are doing. Thanks Julie. Always it is lovely to read your words, and picture you in action. Have a beautiful ‘confinement’ (I love that word – so Victorian!), and I look forward to getting to welcome Tiernan’s younger brother or sister sometime soon – fingers crossed. xxx

  2. June 16, 2013 at 11:54

    PS. ‘Fingers crossed’ being because I am so far away of course… with no plans to travel to Ireland thus far. But you never know.

  3. June 18, 2013 at 22:36

    Thank you for reading Gill! I will cherish my confinement and we shall skype soon, you don’t appear on my list anymore. Where are you, btw? xx

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