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Making musical memories at Kilronan School, Magherafelt

Tuesday 6th February 2018 at 9am 0 Comments Northern Ireland Music

Pictured at the concert is (l-r) Teacher, Marlene Young, musician, Maryann McDonnell, teacher, Elaine Diamond with pupils, Holly Graham, Lee Service, Charlotte Hopkin. Image: Pictured at the concert is (l-r) Teacher, Marlene Young, musician, Maryann McDonnell, teacher, Elaine Diamond with pupils, Holly Graham, Lee Service, Charlotte Hopkin.

Children from Kilronan School, in Magherafelt, recently took part on a series of music making workshops with some of Northern Ireland‘s leading musicians, as part of a new initiative by music charity, Live Music Now, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

In November 2017, Live Music Now (NI) launched an initiative with nine of the region’s most talented musicians to bring participatory music into schools, care homes, day centres and other community settings.  Musicians include Irish traditional band Réalta; Duo, soprano Ellen Campbell and pianist Vicki Schmidt; jazz duo Jack Kelly and Maya Goldblum, singer songwriter Maryann McDonnell and viola / guitar player Owen Denvir.  The musicians receive specialist training to hone their skills in working with a range groups including, children with special educational needs and disabilities, older people suffering isolation and loneliness and those in hospitals and hospices settings with a number of projects due to be rolled out in 2018.

Over the last few weeks, guitarist, Maryann McDonnell, classical pianist, Vicki Schmidt and soprano, Ellen Campbell, have been working with children from Kilronan School, in Magherafelt , in a series of music making workshops, under the guidance of LMN mentor Chris Blake. The aim is to develop the musicians’ skills in music participation with children with special educational needs and disabilities.

Elaine Diamond, music coordinator at Kilronan School, commented,

“This has been such a fantastic experience for our school – the musicians’ enthusiasm and energy have been infectious. The kids have been actively engaged in music making and have been really inspired by the process. We’re thrilled to be able to bring the musicians back to help with our school show The Wizard of Oz, their creativity and talent will bring a wonderful dimension to the performances on 6 and 7 March.”

Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, said,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is really proud to support this important project through National Lottery funding.  We are committed to providing meaningful opportunities for people to engage with the arts and this wonderful initiative from Live Music Now will bring joy to hundreds of children and adults, across the region, whilst developing the skills of some of our most talented musicians.  Congratulations to all involved.”  

Alice Lewis, Director for Live Music Now’s Northern Ireland Branch, said,

“There is a wealth of evidence highlighting the uniquely beneficial impact of music participation on children with a range of disabilities, ranging from enhanced social interaction and emotional expression to improved focus and concentration. We’re delighted to bring LMN’s pioneering specialist ‘Inspire’ framework to Northern Ireland to equip musicians for this area of work and bring the joy of music-making to thousands of children.”

To find out more about Live Music Now visit


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