Scaling musical heights
If you enjoy hearing every kind of music from Bach to Elbow in the one place, then look no further than Kinsale Amateur Orchestra Society.
A performance by Kinsale’s community orchestra takes the audience on a musical journey from the the baroque, classical, and romantic eras into the contemporary music of pop and rock bands and theme songs of James Bond movies.
“We play an eclectic mix and our mission is to include audience- friendly music, songs, and works that have famous melodies. So the audiences have a nice experience when they come to our concerts because they can hum along and recognise the melodies and more well- known pieces,” says Christine Murdoch-Hogan, musical director of Kinsale Amateur Orchestra Society (KAOS).
The orchestra was set up in 2013 by Christine and local musicians with a mission to enable fellow musicians of all ages, levels, and abilities to perform in the community; to inspire, educate, and progress musically as a group; and to encourage a positive atmosphere of fun and enthusiasm by playing music together.
This voluntary orchestra has been fulf illing its mission in many ways over the past five years, manag- ing to stay afloat through grants, donations, and membership fees.
Christine says: “We have between 20 and 25 members; a primary school pupil, teenagers, and adults, a mix of male and female.
“We have all sections of the orchestra. We have strings, and in that section we have violins, violas, cellos, and the double bass. We have a woodwind section, clarinets, a saxophone, a trumpet, a bass guitar, as well as percussion, with a drum kit player and an orchestral percussion player.
“This is such a wonderful growth of the orchestra, we’ve now got a nice balance of instruments.”
The orchestra performs at both local and national events. The most recent national event was Cruinniú na Cásca on Easter Monday, during which the orchestra performed a mini- concert. The next national event in the orchestra’s schedule is Culture Night on September 22.
“Every year, we do a gala concert in St Multose Church, Kinsale’s oldest building, for the national Culture Night, and it features children from each of the primary schools and other acts from the area.”
The idea is to showcase the broad range of arts activities in Kinsale and provide a performance opportunity for young children who may otherwise perform only in exam situations.
Locally, KAOS liaises with Kinsale Music Academy, with the academy’s instrumental teachers and students supporting the orchestra’s events. It also collaborates with Kinsale Historical Society.
“We did a 1916 concert with local tenor Dan Twomey. We also worked in conjunction with the historical society for the Lusitania Commemoration. For this, we formed a choir of over 45 people and recreated music played on the Lusitania on its fateful journey.
“We provide live music to accompany the historical society’s slideshow presentations.”
One of Christine’s personal aims is to bring traditional Irish music and Classical music together, to give KAOS members a more trad/ classical upbringing.
“When Ballinspittle Comhaltas hosted Fleadh Cheoil Chorcai in Kinsale in April, we joined with the trad players and did a mini-concert in the Gig Rig in the square.”
KAOS has also done a workshop at the East Cork Early Music Festival. “Aoife Nic Athlaoich, renowned cellist and baroque music specialist, runs the festival, and we are looking forward to working with her again in October,” says Christine.
More immediately, Kinsale Amateur Orchestra Society i s performing a summer concert today, June 10, in St Multose Church, from 1pm to 2pm, showcasing its excellent and diverse repertoire and the musicianship of its diverse membership.
A concert by KAOS, free of charge, at St Multose Church.
Kinsale Amateur Orchestra Society (KAOS), an innovative group of musicians with up to 25 members, from a primary school pupil and teenagers through to adults. Pictures: Rob Plant