Pas­sion for mu­sic is passed from one lucky gen­er­a­tion to the next

Bray People - - Schoolsreport - Mary FOG­A­RTY

THE Bray Mu­sic Cen­tre, which op­er­ates from a small bun­ga­low on the Florence Road, is the only VEC-run mu­sic project in the county.

It’s a place where peo­ple in the com­mu­nity can learn to play in­stru­ments, in a va­ri­ety of styles, at rea­son­able prices.

The teach­ing staff are ex­pe­ri­enced, tal­ented, and share a com­mon goal - to pro­vide a high stan­dard of mu­si­cal ed­u­ca­tion for lo­cal peo­ple. Artemis Kent, Cen­tre Head, has taught at the Cen­tre for over 20 years and en­joys the task as much now as she ever did.

‘I very much en­joy be­ing in touch with the young peo­ple,’ she said. ‘And now I am see­ing the next gen­er­a­tion come along, the chil­dren of those I taught when they were youngsters. I must have taught some­one from ev­ery fam­ily in the area at this stage!’

She added that hav­ing pupils and teach­ers from dif­fer­ent parts of the world re­ally en­riches the life of the school, which puts on at least one per­for­mance a year, mean­ing that stu­dents and staff get to work to­gether on bring­ing the pro­duc­tion to life.

The school started off in St. Thomas’ school, be­fore the VEC bought the bun­ga­low on Florence Road, which is now a place of learn­ing for pi­anists, cel­lists, singers and more al­most ev­ery day of the week.

‘It’s not a se­lec­tive school, we have the very able and the less able here and even pupils with phys­i­cal and men­tal dif­fi­cul­ties as well as lots of adults,’ said Artemis. ‘When our stu­dents do very well it is of course a source of great pride, but the ap­proach is holis­tic. Mu­sic has so many all-round ben­e­fits even for those who might not be the most gifted.’ A tes­ta­ment to the Bray Mu­sic Cen­tre’s suc­cess is the cal­i­bre of in­struc­tor there, a few of whom took some time out from their gru­elling sched­ules to tell us a lit­tle about them­selves.

ARTEMIS KENT

Artemis, now liv­ing in Bray, is orig­i­nally from Lon­don and was a child prodigy as a pi­anist in the 1950s and 1960s. She won a schol­ar­ship to Trin­ity Col­lege Con­necti­cut, then stud­ied at the pres­ti­gious Hartt Con­ser­va­tory of Pi­ano and Com­po­si­tion. Her many projects over the years have in­cluded work­ing with com­poser Vir­gil Thomp­son, as well as the leg­endary Don Baker and con­duct­ing the Grey­stones Youth Or­ches­tra. Her trav­els have taken her to Spain, Italy, Eng­land, Swe­den and Den­mark, but she re­mains de­voted to her pupils and to teach­ing at the Bray Mu­sic Cen­tre. ‘I love hav­ing con­tact with the fam­i­lies,’ said Artemis, who teaches pi­ano, the­ory and Ju­nior and Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate mu­sic.

PHAE­DRA KEOGH

ASH­FORD WOMAN Phae­dra Keogh has been with the cen­tre for ten years now, teach­ing pi­ano, the­ory and Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate.

‘You can get great plea­sure out of per­form­ing,’ she said, re­call­ing car­ry­ing her first pi­ano home down Ash­ford’s Main Street. ‘But no­body re­alises how hard you need to work for a per­for­mance.’

She has a wealth of ex­pe­ri­ence, hav­ing put stu­dents through their paces in VEC cen­tres in Kerry and Le­in­ster as well as the last decade in Bray. ‘I re­ally en­joy teach­ing, par­tic­u­larly Leav­ing Cer­tifi­cate,’ she said.

‘Be­cause th­ese are pupils who re­ally want to do it as they have cho­sen the sub­ject.’

She said that the con­certs give the young per­form­ers the chance to put what they have learned in to prac­tice on the stage, and also the teach­ers get to in­ter­act and work to­gether on the pro­duc­tion. ‘We col­lab­o­rate on two shows a year and it’s great to work to­gether as a school,’ she said.

MIKE NIELSEN

Mike is one of the cen­tre’s hid­den nuggets of ge­nius, and can also be found in­struct­ing highly-skilled Mas­ters stu­dents at DIT in the nu­ances of jazz. Hav­ing played gui­tar since the age of four, he has earned his rep­u­ta­tion as one of the lead­ing gui­tarists in Euro­pean jazz.

‘I re­ally love it,’ he said of teach­ing. ‘I en­joy help­ing peo­ple to achieve their goals in mu­sic. The Bray Mu­sic Cen­tre is great for the area as nearly all of the teach­ers is highly qual­i­fied with a Mas­ters in mu­sic. Bray is very lucky to have such a valu­able fa­cil­ity.’

Mike, who lives in Grey­stones, will per­form at the Mer­maid on Jan­uary 17, in­tro­duc­ing his new al­bum which is in pro­duc­tion at the mo­ment.

The pupils and teach­ers at Bray Mu­sic Cen­tre are in re­hearsals at the mo­ment pre­par­ing for their Christ­mas Con­cert, which will take place in St. Thomas’ on De­cem­ber 11 at 7.30 p.m.

Artemis Kent has taught at the Cen­tre for over 20 years and still main­tains her love for the job.

Teacher Gavin Roche with his daugh­ter So­phie.

Pi­ano teacher Phae­dra Keogh from the Bray Mu­sic Cen­tre.

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