March to your own tune
Cruinniú na nÓg gets ready to unlock creativity in children of all ages, writes Celine Naughton
An All-Ireland final at Croke Park wouldn't be the same without the Artane Band, but there's more to this group of talented young musicians than marching around the field of dreams entertaining GAA fans, VIPs and visiting royals.
On June 15, young people are invited to the band's headquarters to discover what happens behind the scenes and watch as band members perform popular tunes while marching in formation.
Guests will get the chance to have a go at playing a variety of instruments from the French horn to the big trombone.
Running from 3-4.30pm at the Artane School of Music in St David's Park, Dublin 5, A Day in the Life of the Artane Band hits all the right notes for a family friendly Cruinniú na nÓg event for all ages.
According to Cora Doyle, the school's administrator, guests on the day will get to see the discipline, teamwork and skills involved in being part of a marching band.
"In the Joe Lynch suite we'll have a variety of musical instruments that children can try out, with tutors showing them how to play," she says. "Our entry level band of local 4th-class primary students will demonstrate how far they've honed their skills after playing for only a year.
"The rhythm and beat of a presentation by the young drummers of Drumline is something to behold, especially when they start throwing their sticks in the air mid-performance. The event culminates in a rousing concert by the Artane Band, which will play popular numbers as they march - and not only in straight lines. If the band strikes up Yellow Submarine, the players march themselves into the shape of a submarine.
"We hope the event will introduce children to the gift of music and all the social and personal development benefits that go hand-in-hand with music education."
In Kerry, young people aged 11-13 are invited to bring out their creative side on Inch beach, where local artist Gerry Barry will be on hand to facilitate the Inch Land Art Creation workshop from 11am to 3pm. Using raw materials like sticks, stones and broken shells that they find on the beach, the youngsters will create art inspired by nature. But while paintings and installations exhibited in art galleries are designed to last, artists working with and on the land and sea do so knowing their work will quickly disappear.
"Land art is a reflection of the world we live in," says Gerry. "Nothing is constant. The works on the day will become weathered and blown away or washed away, and young people are fine with that. Adults want to know what such work represents. They ask, 'What's it about?' like it has to have a function, but land art is not a commodity. Kids are more open-minded. They immerse themselves in the experience and let their imagination run wild, enjoying the process without questioning what it's for."
To book a place on this workshop contact Gerry Barry on 087 916 5945, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Participants are advised to bring a packed lunch and rain gear in case of bad weather, and all are welcome to stay for a free drumming workshop at 4pm.
Rua Red Arts Centre in Tallaght, South Dublin is the venue for an artistic venture for toddlers up to age five and children with special needs up to age 10. Devised by artist Helen Barry, The Kaleidoscopic Child is a multisensory, interactive experience that allows children to feel what it's like to be inside a kaleidoscope, seeing different colours, patterns and shapes emerge as they and their guardians move about.
"Participants climb into a dome, inside which are curved mirrors, different sounds and lights, and a mobility seat on the floor that spins," explains Helen, who trained in sculpture and dance and works as an early learning practitioner.
"The children and their adult guardians can see their reflections as they move, twist, play, explore and peer into their world in a mirror.
"Young children see the world like a kaleidoscope, full of possibilities, beauty and surprises. They don't put things into defined categories.
"They have fresh perspectives and use materials in ways I never thought of. They're an inspiration."
There will be two workshops on the day, from 12.30-1.30pm and 2.30-3.30pm.