Scal­ing mu­si­cal heights

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - KINSALE - KAOS In­ter­view: Ma­jella Flynn

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

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