£580,000 investment announced to support NI musicians
One hundred and seven musical groups, bands and musicians across Northern Ireland are celebrating this week, with news they are set to receive funding to help upgrade worn out instruments and purchase new ones. Among those set to benefit are schools groups, community choirs, marching and brass bands, and individual professional musicians.
The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is providing the funding worth almost £580,000 under its Musical Instruments Scheme. Thanks to capital investment from the Department for Communities, the scheme, set up to increase the quality of music making in Northern Ireland, was extended for the first time this year to offer grants to a range of professional and non-professional musicians and groups.
There are three strands to the funding. Among the 30 bands set to benefit under Programme One: Musical Instruments for Bands are: Down Academy Pipes and Drums, Kellswater Flute Band, Ravara Pipe Band, Dunganon Silver Band, Orangefield Flute Band and Bessbrook Crimson Arrow Pipe Band.
Under Programme Two: Professional and Non-Professional Performing Groups, 41 awards have been offered, including grants for: Armagh Pipers Club, Ulster Youth Orchestra, North West Cultural Partnership and Newry Chamber Music, as well as a number of schools groups, including Sacred Heart College Omagh, St Patricks College Maghera and Lisneal College in Derry/Londonderry.
While 36 Individual Professional Performing Musicians, who will receive support under Category Three of the programme, include: Darragh Morgan, Kim Vaughan, Conor Lamb, James Joys, Jordan McCuaig, Scott Flanigan, Martha Guiney, Greg Caffrey and Laura McFadden.
Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music at the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented:
“We have a fine history of musicianship in Northern Ireland, one which is celebrated all over the world and it is a pleasure to announce today this funding which will benefit so many musicians, playing in professional and non-professional groups, bands and schools across the country.
“With support to buy new instruments and equipment we are helping to increase the quality of music making here, across a broad range of genres; classical, jazz, traditional, contemporary and electronic, to name just a few. The awards announced today will help benefit hundreds of musicians, from young musicians just starting out, right through to highly trained performers working at a professional level.”
Debbie McKibben, Head of Arts and Creativity Branch, Department for Communities, said:
“As Head of the Arts and Creativity Branch I am delighted that the Department has been able to invest these funds in the Music Sector. This programme will provide valuable support to a wide range of musicians across the region, which will enable the development of quality music making within our communities, connecting people and enriching lives.”