Celine Byrne at the Defence Forces Benefit Concert in Dublin Photo: © Michael Fisher
Soprano Celine Byrne from Co. Kildare will be singing with tenor José Carreras at the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on Thursday 17th October. The concert marks the start of the Belfast Festival at Queens, which runs until Sunday October 27th. The full programme can be accessed here. I will be blogging on some of the events as a volunteer with the festival. I have already previewed the preparation for the major public art display beside the Titanic Centre, Wish, by Jorge Rodríguez–Gerada.
Celine was the guest artist at the Defence Forces benefit concert in Dublin last Sunday. She will be back in the capital at the weekend to accompany José Carreras again at the Bord Gáis Energy theatre on Sunday. Details can be found here.
DF School of Music Crest Photo: © Michael Fisher
Wonderful Defence Forces benefit concert with combined army bands & soprano Celine Byrne at the National Concert Hall in Dublin on Saturday night. Lt Col Mark Armstrong was the conductor. Members of the pipe bands also played. President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina were the guests of honour.
DF Concert Programme
Army No.1 Band in Newbridge Photo: © Michael Fisher
One of the highlights at the start of the recent RTÉ Big Music Week to encourage live music was the parade in Newbridge. It made its way from the train station to the Main Street and then over the bridge across the River Liffey to Patrician Secondary School for an hour-long concert in the school hall. The parade was led in style by the Army No.1 Band from Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin. Tomorrow night (Saturday 12th October) they will be performing at the National Concert Hall in Dublin in the annual defence forces benefit concert and the tickets are sold out so there will be a full house. Celine Byrne from Caragh in County Kildare who was also in Newbridge for the RTÉ Music week is the guest soprano.
Army No.1 Band in Newbridge Photo: © Michael Fisher
Celine Byrne with Luka Bloom and his brother Christy Moore in Newbridge: up the Lilywhites! Photo: © Michael Fisher
‘Birds of Paradise’ with town Mayor Mick Deely greet RTÉ’s Miriam O’Callaghan at Newbridge Photo: © Michael Fisher
What a fantastic reception in Newbridge for RTÉ’s Big Music Week. Alighting from the train, the musicians, presenters and guests were greeted by the colourful ‘Birds of Paradise’. Town Mayor Councillor Mick Deely was on the platform, waiting to whisk Miriam O’Callaghan away in a horse-drawn carriage.
Hundreds of schoolchildren and supporters lined the station car park and poured out onto the streets to cheer the musicians. One banner read ‘Thank you for the music’. The Kill Singers from County Kildare serenaded the arrivals with “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, which had also been performed on board in style by the Bugle Babes.
Numerous local bands including the Scoil na Naomh Uilig band played as the musicians and singers lined up for a parade into town headed by the Army No.1 Band from Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin. On Saturday they will be appearing at the National Concert Hall in Dublin at the Defence Forces Benefit Concert, which is sold out. Soprano Celine Byrne who was also in Newbridge will be making a guest appearance. I notice she is also coming to the Waterfront Hall in Belfast on October 17th to sing alongside José Carreras in the opening night of the Belfast Festival at Queen’s.
“What a way to arrive into my hometown of Newbridge,” singer Luka Bloom told the Leinster Leader. He was joined on the platform by fellow musician and friend Philip King. “What a thrill. I was at Connolly Station at 8am this morning [Monday 1st October] and what a way to spend a Monday. There was a lot of singing on the train”.
At the Patrician Secondary School, Luka Bloom’s brother Christy Moore was waiting at his alma mater. Luka sang a song he had written for his good friends the Brigidine Sisters in Kildare Town called ‘Don’t be afraid of the light within you’.
Grand Canal Theatre: Photo: Arup/Ros Cavanagh
Just as the old dockside at Bristol has been rejuvenated through projects such as the M-Shed and the SS Great Britain, so too in Dublin. The Jeanie Johnston Tall Ship and Famine Museum is located at Custom House Quay. Through the Docklands Development Authority (DDA), a number of regeneration projects were initiated during the boom time of the Celtic Tiger economy. The Convention Centre was built at Spencer Dock. On the southern side of the River Liffey, the area around Grand Canal Dock has been transformed, with the building of an iconic theatre, seating over 2,000.
It was designed by the internationally renowned architect from New York, Daniel Liebeskind and was his first such project. Last year he was awarded the contract for designing a conflict resolution centre on part of the site of the former high security Maze prison outside Lisburn. His other projects have included the Jewish Museum in Berlin and the redevelopment of the World Trade Centre site in Manhattan.
The consultants for the Grand Canal Theatre were Arup, for whom my daughter works in London. Arup were appointed to provide acoustic design and technical theatre systems, as well as civil, structural, building services and traffic engineering. Ove Arup, a Danish engineer, began his connection with Dublin in the late 1940s when he was invited by the architect Michael Scott to join him in the construction of Donnybrook bus garage for CIÉ. It was the first building in the world to have a concrete shell roof, lit by natural light from one end to the other. Arup’s Dublin office, its first overseas one, was set up in 1946 to work on the project.
BGE Grand Canal Theatre
The Grand Canal Theatre opened in March 2010 with a performance of Swan Lake by the Russian State Ballet. It has been designed to take large shows including operas, concerts and musicals. Now following a commercial deal for the naming rights, it is referred to as the Bord Gáis Energy (BGE) Theatre. My first visit there was last night to watch a performance of Bizet’s opera Carmen by the Moscow State Opera, with a guest performance in the role of Micaëla by leading Irish soprano Celine Byrne from Naas.
I look forward to returning to the theatre at some stage in the future. For a list of forthcoming shows and information about ticket prices, check the BGE Theatre website.