All-Ireland musical collaboration leads to special recording by BBC Northern Ireland Radio in Ballymun

 Axis Theatre Ballymun, 7th Feb 2005 - The Axis Theatre Ballymun was yesterday the location for a unique collaboration between 'Breaking Ground', the arts division of Ballymun Regeneration Ltd (BRL), BBC Northern Ireland Radio, Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT), the Department of Education and Science, and a number of schools in Ballymun.   

'Fire', a specially written piece of music by Antrim composer Elaine Agnew, was performed by over 130 children from schools in Ballymun and was recorded by the radio station as an example of a successful all-Ireland musical collaboration. The piece was performed by the Ballymun Wind Band and Strings, St Joseph's Primary School Choir and singers from the Comprehensive Schools Ballymun. The performance also included special guests from the Alexandra College Choir, Milltown and professional classical musicians.

'Fire' was commissioned by the Ballymun Regeneration Ltd.  as a vehicle to express school children's perception of and vision for the regenerated Ballymun. Simon Taylor of BBC Northern Ireland Radio decided to get involved when Breaking Ground announced that they intended to record a CD version of the piece. According to Simon Taylor, 'I wanted to make a programme about music education in general and, more specifically, a programme about a composer from the North working in an all-Ireland scenario.' 

In composing the piece Elaine Agnew worked with the pupils through composition and music making workshops. This is the first time that a composer has worked directly with children in this area to create a unique work of excellence, without any stipulations other than that the score should subsequently be available to other school and youth orchestras. This has been funded by the Ballymun Regeneration Per-cent for Arts Scheme. 

The Ballymun Wind Band Project is an initiative of the Dublin Institute of Technology's (DIT) Community Links Programme and the Department of Education and Science. Speaking at the recording Tommy Cooke, Head of DIT's Community Links Programme said, 'This has proven to be a very successful partnership, which now includes DIT's Conservatory of Music and Drama, that has enriched the lives of the young people and wider community of Ballymun.' 

According to Ron Cooney, Musical Director of the Ballymun Wind Band Project, 'It was a fantastic opportunity for our young Ballymun musicians and singers to experience first-hand recording sessions with professional players. It is also afforded us the opportunity to renew our relationship with Alexandra College who have a magnificent reputation musically.' 

Preparations for the performance of 'Fire' can be seen in the film Fanfare for Ballymun by director Frank Berry, which was screened just before Christmas on TG4.

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