Ireland's leading harpers were invited to participate in the virtual 'Harps for Hope' concert series which began in April.
Ten gifted musicians from Duhallow were among the legion of performers who shared their music to express togetherness and promote the message of hope in the fight against Covid-19.
The harp is our national emblem and with its soothing and unique sound it is no wonder that this series brought a sense of comfort to everyone during lockdown. The series finale, which took place on June 19th, consisted of a harp ensemble with 200 harp students from all over Ireland who were invited to record the tune 'Fanny Power', a Turlough O'Carolan composition.
Each musician recorded the tune at home and submitted it to Harp Ireland who then took the 200 recordings and developed them into an ensemble. This is a well-known piece which was specially arranged for the occasion by Harper aileen Kennedy. The piece was dedicated to front-line workers and everyone who has suffered loss during these challenging times.
The ten harpers from Duhallow who participated shared some thoughts about their experience of 'Harps for Hope' with the Corkman:
Ciara Hartnett, Glash, Kiskeam
"This was an amazing achievement and I was delighted to take part"
Isobel Hynes, Kanturk
I think that 'Harps for Hope' was an extremely positive event that took place during the lockdown as it brought harpers from all over Ireland together. It was an amazing opportunity to play alongside so many other great musicians from all over the country and the final result was lovely".
Ava Hynes, Kanturk
"Harps for Hope was a great way to bring everyone together during lockdown as concerts had been cancelled everywhere. Each person recorded themselves individually playing the same tune and it was then arranged to allow a group performance of harpers from all over the country".
Siobhan Buckley, Rathcoole
"I'm delighted to be part of such an incredible initiative, both as a soloist and as director of the Music Generation Laois Harp Ensemble. While the series features some of Ireland's leading Harpers, it's great that the younger generation got the opportunity to be included in a harp ensemble performance with such a large group of young musicians from across the country".
Laura O'Connor, Kanturk
"I'm really glad that I got the chance to be in this group. I loved the experience and got to play music with my friends. I liked learning new tunes and enjoyed listening to other Harpers from different areas".
Jack Quirke, Kanturk
"It was a fantastic opportunity. We got to learn new tunes and listen to famous Harpers perform. Playing in the ensemble group was definitely the highlight.".
Sarah O'Keeffe, Kanturk
"I was delighted when my teacher Damhnait Sweeney asked me to take part in this group, especially during these strange times it was really nice to be involved in a project that kept me connected in some way with my friends. It gave me great motivation to keep practicing. Damhnait put a lot of effort in to ensure that everyone could continue their weekly lessons online and while it was strange at the beginning it soon became normal and the end result was a big success. I really enjoyed the whole experience".
Yasmine O'Sullivan, Kanturk
"I really enjoyed the experience, I got to learn some new tunes with my friends, it was challenging at times but also really fun and well worth it".
Riona Sheehan, Kanturk
"I really enjoyed taking part in the Crúit Eireann event. It was incredible to see so many Harpers get together for a virtual performance during the Pandemic. I was delighted to be part of it as the Harp is a brilliant instrument which I love playing".
Aoife Buckley, Rathcoole
"Being a part of the Harp Ireland initiative 'Harps for Hope' was a great pleasure. Not being able to play music with other musicians during lockdown was one of the hardest things for me, and to get the opportunity to participate in this video with such talented musicians was amazing".