Ode To The Music Students of “Arts In Ireland”

Our music students pose for a photograph inside the 4th floor of Newtown Castle.  The castle is their rehearsal space.

L to R: Drew, Nesli, Mir, Sophia and Morgan

It’s a brilliant sunny Tuesday 7am on the final week of the class. We’ve got four days now to wrap it up. At the outset: the stellar weather demands a brief mention as more than a bit player in this creative drama of ours. In Ireland one doesn’t need for there to be sunny cloudless skies in order to move about, appreciate the country, do one’s work, or meet people. One just needs not to be subjected to constant deluge à la Noah. So – the great weather we’ve had, which once again appears to be continuing today as I sit here comfortably in a short sleeve linen shirt, has been a great help to us in our work. While the weather can be counted as a contributing factor to the truly substantial progress you musician-composers are making during this trip, it doesn’t begin to explain the variety and depth of musical composition you’ve undertaken, nor the degree to which you have been collaborating with each other both in general as supportive friends, and in specific terms as creative artists – co-authoring and arranging music, and serving as support performers for each other’s final presentations this Friday evening. Yesterday morning in our beginning-of-week meeting I sprung on you the request to devote 20% or so of your remaining creative energy this week to working on one additional new composition, perhaps something quite different from what you’ve been doing already. I saw the raised eyebrows. I know – you’ve already all generated a substantial body of work. Asking for more at this time, when you’ve deeply probed new sides of your musical personalities and challenged yourselves to write in new forms for new groupings of instruments, is audacious on my part. And asking you to do this when you’re deep into polishing and preparing your newly-composed works for this Friday’s opening, doubly so. But you all have shown you’re perfectly capable of coming up with new work in this environment. Several of you have told me how this trip has allowed you to go further than ever before, in an undistracted fashion, in the pursuit of who you are as musicians and composers. That’s just what my colleague Andy and I hoped for when we set up the class – to provide you a clear quiet open workspace, a selection of suggestive stimuli (cultural historical geographical botanical and etc ), and to challenge you to charge into that space with your ideas and dreams.