Clara Daly Donnellan, Trombone
“Receiving [a scholarship] made all the hours of personal practice at home worthwhile…” Clara Daly-Donnellan, Trombone, Aged 14
This is my third year so far in the NYOI and I've loved every minute of it!! From making some of my very closest friends to playing great music with such brilliant players, I look forward to the course every time it's coming around. The fabulous staff are loved by all the members. They put so much into the course, organising great concerts and hilarious activities every evening. This year I was very lucky to be awarded a scholarship by the NYOI and I really appreciated it. Receiving such an award made all the hours of personal practice at home worthwhile and I also loved that I was able to make a contribution to the money my parents paid for the course.
This year's Christmas course was my favourite so far! The music we played (Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony, Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty) was challenging and exciting. Others like The Sorcerer's Apprentice and Night on a Bald Mountain from previous courses hold great memories for me!! The orchestra members always ooze enthusiasm and the atmosphere is invigorating. Two of my aunts and my mother have all been in the NYOI before me and their memories are just as fond. I really enjoy the courses and want to say a big thank you to all involved and can't wait for the U.A.E. I encourage anyone who hasn't auditioned already to go for it, it really is the highlight of my year!
Lukas O Brien, Oboe, aged 16, Limerick
“To have been awarded a scholarship this year was an incredible honour for me …thanks to the generosity of the NYOI Friends who even in these tough times find the funds to help me and the other young musicians of today…”
The NYOI and me...
My name is Lukas O Brien, I'm 16 and from Limerick. I'm an oboe player and this is my 4th year doing the National Youth Orchestra Of Ireland. I realise that this phrase is so often used but I have to concede that I have loved every minute of my time in the NYOI, from the first sectional rehearsals to the last few bars of Tchaikovsky's 5th Symphony. What I find so great about the NYOI is that there is a real sense of belonging there for each of us. The NYOI is like one big family and every year the new members become part of it. On my first course that was certainly the case. Coming from a county like Limerick which rarely features at all in the orchestra, I was worried that the Dublin and Cork contingents wouldn't accept me .However, I had no need for worry. I, like all members, was welcomed with open arms by all and this made the whole experience much more enjoyable.
I have no hesitation in saying that I've made friends for life in the orchestra whatever career path I may take and I'm sure I speak on behalf of everyone when I say that. Some people who I now gladly can call my best friends I only met because of the NYOI and this has been the case for all members of the orchestra since its beginning 40 years ago. The first day of the residential courses are always met with such euphoria by all not only because it is a week away from home but to be reunited with all your music friends too!
The musical side of the experience is one which I believe cannot be outdone in this country. We have excellent tutors who are often the best on their instrument in this country and the experience that our conductor Gearóid Grant brings to the table is incredible. Sometimes we don’t realise how stressful it is for him. I personally find the long rehearsals quite draining sometimes and he has to concentrate much more than I do for much longer, yet he still manages to bring some humour into rehearsals! I remember my first Tutti rehearsal with him as a 14 year old and it had been my first full orchestral experience. I can still sing my part to Dvorak 8 to this day and that's how serious we all take it. It’s not just about having a laugh, we are all there to make good music and that is what we inevitably do. The NYOI has also given me the opportunity to play with world class musicians such as Gwendolyn Masin, Julian Bliss, Liam O'Flynn to name a few and this is a huge honour for me as their excellence has brought the orchestra on a great deal.
I gain invaluable lessons from playing in the NYOI and the orchestral experience is one I believe can't be beaten in Ireland. This year’s 91 strong orchestra was as good as any year and it was good to see a few new younger members joining to keep our traditions going!
To have been awarded a scholarship this year was an incredible honour for me and we all realise that this is thanks to the generosity of the NYOI Friends who even in these tough times find the funds to help me and the other young musicians of today, this is very much appreciated. This year of course is a very special year with guest conductor Garry Walker conducting us in the summer. This will be a great experience for us to get a different conductor and I look forward to that. Also we can of course not forgot the sensational St. Patrick's Day trip to the United Arab Emirates. A trip of a lifetime is to be expected!!!