Summer school is a hit
The 31st South Sligo Summer School drew to a close in Tubbercurry on Saturday night 15th July with a rousing farewell céilí in St Brigid's Hall where the Glenside Céilí Band from Longford kept a packed hall of dancers on their toes.
Dancers came from near and far. On Monday a group of ten dancers from Belarus attended the workshops and céilí and all week there were dancers in attendance from every corner of Ireland and from the UK, USA, France, Australia, Japan and Argentina.
Musicians likewise came from all over to hone their skills in a range of instruments including fiddle and flute, whistle, harmonica, harp, uilleann pipes, banjo, traditional guitar, bodhrán, concertina and button accordion as well as lilting, traditional and sean nós singing. There were singers from South Korea, USA and Ireland in the sean nós singing class, ten Swiss teenagers and three of their teachers in the harp and dancing classes, Spanish students learning tinwhistle and bodhrán and new people from all parts of Ireland.
The traditional singing class even included a lady from Tennessee who was attending the summer school with her family, as well as singers from Switzerland, Belarus, Dublin and Doocastle.
The tutors for 2017 included Sligo musicians Seamie O'Dowd, Oisín Mac Diarmada, Shane McGowan, Philip Duffy, Damien Stenson, Declan Folan, Fionnuala, Cian & Caoimhe Kearins, Jarlath McTernan, Niamh McGloin, Jarlath Brennan, John Dwyer, Keith Frain, Michael Hurley, Fiona Doherty, Daithí Gormley, Junior Davey, Siobhan O'Donnell as well as Leonard Barry, Theresa O'Grady and Rick Epping who have made Sligo their home and Marian Egan and Muireann Banks who boast strong family roots in Sligo.
Teaching this year were musicians from the Connacht region including Galway girls Anne Conroy-Burke and Liz and Yvonne Kane, Mayo musicians Holly and Bernie Geraghty, Stephen Doherty, David Doocey and Darragh Healy, Aidan and Breda Shannon from Roscommon, sean nós singer Caitríona Ni Cheannabháin from Cill Chiarán, Co na Gaillimhe and sean nós dancer Edwina Guckian from Drumsna, Co Leitrim.
Rounding off the tutors for 2017 there was Annette Owens from Fermanagh, Niamh Ní Shúilleabháin, Catherine McEvoy and Liam O'Connor from Dublin, Tipperary native Pat Murphy, and Jack Talty from Lissycasey, Co Clare, who gave a week long course in Audio Production.
Masterclasses this year were taught by John McEvoy, David Doocey and Liam O'Connor (fiddle), John Wynne and Catherine McEvoy (flute) and Angelina Carberry (banjo).
Tubbercurry was buzzing all week with lots of musicians visiting the town to meet up with friends and enjoy a few tunes with strangers and familiar faces.
The organising committee are extremely grateful to the local businesses, industries and shops for their financial support, to all the members of the community in Tubbercurry and the surrounding area for their help and support of the summer school, to the Arts Council of Ireland, Sligo County Council/Creative Ireland, Aurivo, Music Generation and Mayo, Sligo. Leitrim ETB for their financial sponsorship, to St Brigid's Hall Committee, Boards of North Connacht College and Holy Family National School, Management of St Attracta's Community School, Peadar & Lucy Kennedy, An Chroí Enterprise Centre and Tubbercurry GAA Club for making their premises and facilities available to us for the week and to the Gardaí in Tubbercurry for their help with traffic management during the week.
Now that the 31st South Sligo Summer School has come to an end, plans are already well in place for the 32nd edition next year.