Clare Youth Trad Orchestra to premiere at Fleadh 2017

Clare Youth Trad Orchestra to premiere at Fleadh 2017



Up to 70 Clare teenage traditional musicians in the first Clare Youth Trad Orchestra will premiere at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann 2017 under the baton of Director, Padraic O’Reilly.

Young people from across the county are invited to become involved in this innovative project by completing and submitting an application form by May 12th.

The initiative, supported by Clare Arts Office, Music Generation Clare and Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann, enables young people to be involved in the orchestra free of charge. They will have the honour of being the first group to perform at the Shannon Aerodome at Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Ennis on Tuesday 15th August.

‘The Orchestra is both a musical and social stimulus for the teenagers involved, who otherwise may only meet in competition at County or Provincial level,’ said Corofin piano player Padraic O’Reilly, who has enthusiastically taken on the responsibility of creating and conducting the orchestra and delivering the event.

‘It is a wonderful opportunity for young musicians to perform before a huge audience in a non-competitive setting and I can’t wait for the first rehearsal.  I am so grateful that Clare Arts Office had the foresight to recognise the potential in the idea and likewise I value the support of Music Generation Clare and Comhaltas in the county,’ said Padraic O’Reilly.

Members of the orchestra must be living in Clare and be between 12 and 18 years old on the 1st January 2017. If the membership is over-subscribed a shortlisting/audition process will apply. Young people may then be asked to submit an audition piece by e-mail or live auditions will be facilitated if recording technology is an issue. An ability to play jigs and reels at a good pace is necessary while an ability to read music and perform harmonies is an advantage.

The orchestra is open to all instruments including unusual instruments like the cello, double bass, brass etc. Preference will be given to older students once a certain standard is reached. The commitment will require weekly rehearsals (2-3 hours) on Sunday evenings over the summer months at Cois na hAbhna in Ennis mostly with some extra rehearsals closer to the performance date. The performance will be 20-30 minutes long of specially arranged trad material.

According to Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer, this initiative builds upon Clare County Council’s commitment to promoting the traditional arts among young people. ‘We currently have two traditional singers in residence working with hundreds of young people throughout the county,’ she said. ‘The exciting development of the trad orchestra adds another dimension to our work with young people and will assist in ensuring that Clare continues to lead the way in traditional music’.

An application form can be downloaded from the Fleadh website ( and returned by email to or by post to Padraic O’Reilly, 3 Kilquane, Woodstock, Shanaway Road, Ennis, Co. Clare.

Participants for the Clare Youth Trad Orchestra will be informed following the closing of application deadline. Tickets for this event will shortly be available for sale on and

Chief Reporter Pat Flynn has worked as a journalist for almost 30 years. His career began during the late 1980s when, like many aspiring radio presenters of the time, he worked for local pirate radio stations in Clare and Limerick. Pat joined Clare FM in 1990 where he worked as researcher initially and later presented several different programmes including the station's flagship current affairs programme. He was also the station's News Editor and Deputy Controller of Programmes. Despite leaving in 2003 to pursue a career as a freelance journalist, he continues to work with the station to this day. As well as being the Clare Herald’s Chief Reporter Pat is also freelance journalist and broadcaster, contributing to Ireland’s national newspapers and is a regular contributor to national broadcasters.