Aisling Higgins, John Kennedy, Helena Tobin , Des Dillon and Cliona Maher at the launch of the Junctio Arts Festival
Clonmel Junction Festival is the premier festival for Tipperary County Council and its Cathaoirleach Councillor Marie Murphy, speaking at the 2022 brochure launch, noted that the programme this year has something for everyone, from theatre plays about hurling to classical music listening parties.
County Council Chief Executive Joe MacGrath is looking forward to attending live events again while Arts Officer Melanie Scott was in attendance with Fiona Flavin attending her first Junction Festival this year as the new Assistant Arts Officer.
Clonmel Borough District’s new Administrator Carol Creighton is no stranger to the arts and entertainment sector as she has worked closely over the years on many events.
The launch took place at Bakers Bar on Parnell Street, the Junction Festival Club, where artists, crew and volunteers, as well as patrons and partners can relax after a day of art and entertainment.
New festival chairperson John Kennedy spoke about the important opportunities for artists the festival gives. His painting career took off following a 2018 Junction exhibition at Kickham Barracks and he also acknowledged the mentorship of South Tipp Arts Centre Director Helena Tobin during his residency at the centre.
As a Clonmel native, he felt that he wanted to give something back to the town and that his role as a board member working with the festival team brings a lot of great events every July to animate the town.
Artistic Director Cliona Maher noted that, as another Clonmel native with over 30 years’ experience working in the professional arts sector, the festival’s role in supporting regional arts careers and providing a range of arts events for the public is close to her heart.
“We have such fantastic musicians, writers, theatre-makers, visual artists – there are professionals living and working in town across all the artforms, and I want Junction Festival to be a showcase of the fantastic talent and creativity that I see every day in Clonmel,” she said.
The last number of years has shown us that careers in the arts are precarious, and local musician and conductor Eamon O’Malley is ‘relieved and happy’ to be back with live music in 2022.
His UpRoar Rock Chorus will perform both at the opening CJF event at the Junction Dome, and at the Festival Fun Day on Saturday July 2 at the festival hub at Kickham Barracks.
However, Eamon is also organising and speaking at two very special concerts of classical music taking place during the festival.
“I first came up with the idea of a classical music listening party during lockdown, and developed the online series Sofa Symphony,” explains Eamon O’Malley.
“Cliona Maher approached me with the idea of doing something similar but with live music. What we’re trying to do with this is to invite people to listen to music from the 18th and 19th centuries that would have been played in people’s living rooms. I’ll be putting it in context for the audience, and talking about what they can listen out for, and then letting the string quartet play. I’m really looking forward to sharing music that I’m passionate about with Clonmel audiences and I hope that it will bring joy to both classical music aficionados and those dipping a toe in to live art music for the first time. We have some fantastic musicians living around Clonmel and we’re looking forward to working together on these pieces from familiar composers like Vivaldi, Handel, Mozart and others,” said Eamon.
With a string quartet led by well-known cellist Gerri Dunne, and featuring Maria Ryan and Rob Mahon on violins and Victoria Birlea on viola, the concerts will take place in the beautiful setting of Old St Mary’s Church in Clonmel on Monday July 4 and Tuesday July 5.
Also at Old St Mary’s is a concert originally planned for the March 2022 Finding A Voice concert series.
“We had a difficult time in March with a lot of COVID cases,” explains Artistic Director Roisin Maher.
“Luckily the only concert that couldn’t take place has been moved to July so that it can happen during Junction,” she said.
Brightening takes place on Sunday July 3, as a very special event featuring two world premieres. The talented flute and voice duo of Lina Andonovska and Michelle O’Rourke perform work by composer Linda Buckely with text by poet Doireann Ni Ghriofa.
Also on the programme is Analu by Maeve Kelly, winner of the 2022 Emerging Composer competition.
Clonmel Junction Festival, South Tipperary Arts Centre and Finding A Voice concert series are working closely together on a larger project to celebrate Clonmel and its artists with the #ClonmelArts social media campaign.
Arts Council Director Maureen Kennelly commented that “this collaboration between three organisations in Clonmel is a great use of resources. By coming together and working on a shared vision, this project will have some fantastic and practical outcomes. The Arts Council see this as a great model for regional towns to build audiences for the arts in their locality”.
For more information on the 2022 Clonmel Junction Arts Festival programme, call to the box office at 3 Parnell Street for a brochure and ticket reservations, or visit online at www.junctionfestival.com
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