Historical Harp Society of Ireland

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Scoil na gCláirseach 2006 Director's Report

The fourth annual Scoil na gClairseach–Summer School of Early Irish Harp took place 19th-25th August 2006. It was our best-attended summer school yet with twenty-eight enthusiastic students from nine countries on three continents. Our overseas students outnumbered students based in Ireland seventeen to eleven. There were six US based students, five from England and Scotland, two from Germany and one each from Italy, Spain, Poland and France. The classes divided into three groups of nine beginners, seven intermediate and twelve advanced students. As usual, it was a packed and intensive programme but still the student body managed both to work hard by day and party by night!

Our tutors and seminar presenters were Ann Heymann [USA], Javier Sáinz [Spain], and myself, Siobhán Armstrong [IRL]. In addition, Paul Dooley [IRL] visited as a guest tutor and performer on Tuesday, 22nd August.

Our unique two-tiered system of lectures for less and more advanced students continued this year: Simon Chadwick [Scotland], Seán Donnelly [IRL] and, for the first time, Edward Bunting’s biographer, Roy Johnston [N. IRL], gave talks.

The HHSI’s latest student harp model – the HHSI Student Downhill – made its appearance in class for the first time with three belonging to the Society rented to Scoil students in addition to others played by their owners. These were in addition to many of the HHSI’s Student Trinities, rented or owned by some participants. For more information on HHSI student harps please visit http://www.irishharp.org/shop/

The generous support of the Scoil by the Arts Council made it possible for the HHSI to present three concerts in association with Scoil na gCláirseach: one in Rothe House, Kilkenny with The Irish Consort and one each in Galway [Nun's Island Studio]and Dublin [St. Ann's, Dawson St.] presenting the three Scoil tutors in concert with guest sean-nós singer, Róisin Elsafty. All of the concerts were well attended with standing room only in Kilkenny.

The importance and positive effect of eating well at a summer school cannot be overestimated. The Scoil lunches this year were particularly well received by all. Pat Glavin of The Food Company, Carrick-on-Suir, provided a vegetarian feast each lunchtime and not content with the work that that involved, soon started providing us with mid-afternoon home-baked treats for our tea breaks. Sincere thanks to Pat for his wonderful contribution to the week.

I would like to thank my assistant director, Simon Chadwick, and the tutors, lecturers and performers whose advance preparation and non-stop hard work, good humour and enthusiasm at Scoil na gCláirseach enabled us to present the best possible programme we could for the students.

I would also like to thank the following for all their kind help and support:

Fergus Shiel and the An Chomhairle Ealaíon (The Arts Council); Philip Edmondson and Kilkenny School of Music; Maura Uí Chróinín and Galway Early Music; Brenda Malloy; Pattie Moore; Niamh Tumelty; Marian Rabbitte; John Elwes; Charlie Heymann and Ealasaid Gilfillan.

To see a photo album of Scoil na gCláirseach 06 please go to http://www.irishharpschool.com/2006/photos/

Siobhán Armstrong
Director–Scoil na gCláirseach


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