West London Comhaltas Report for 2007/2008

1 January 2009, 9:01 PM GMT

West London Comhaltas Report for 2007/2008

West London Branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann 2007/8 Report

The main event where members meet is at our seisiún, 8.30 - 11 p.m. on the second Friday of each month at the Irish Cultural Centre, Blacks Road, Hammersmith, London W6 9DT. Entry is free and members of the public are welcome. We are very grateful to the Irish Centre for their unstinting support and hospitality over many years. For location, Click here

The 2007/8 year kicked off with our September 2007 seisiún after the holidays. Among the musicians were West London members who won medals at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann, Tullamore, Offaly. Some of them were students of Sharon Kelly. Sharon brought many more of her music students too. During the interval, watched by a packed house, Sharon presented certificates to them for music exams that they had passed and also for the All Britain Fleadh in which they’d played. The exams give credits towards University entrance.

Our seisiúns have generally been well-attended by performers and audience. Many of the performers are students of well-established teachers like Brendan Mulkere, Marian Gill and Sharon Kelly. We appreciate the way that families from other Branches have supported us by playing at our seisiuns. e.g. the McAuliffe and the Nevin families of East London; and the Rowe family and Pat Connolly of North London. Audiences have been delighted to hear the young people of these families joining ours to play traditional Irish music in an accomplished, joyful manner e.g. Liam Nolan on banjo; Aaron Gallagher on flute and accordion; Edward Gaughan on mouth organ. At the 2008 Fleadh Cheoil Edward won 1st. place in the Under 12 mouth organ competition; and Aaron came 3rd. in the Under 12 Flute slow airs section. Congratulations to all our members who took part. Throughout the year Aidan Burke (fiddle) has continued to pass on his expertise and encouragement to musicians at our seisiuns, both young and old. The success of the seisiúns owes much to him.

2007 AGM (Annual General Meeting) and anniversary of Joan Burke RIP
On Friday 12th October 2007 mass was offered at Brooke Green & Holy Trinity church to mark the first anniversary on 13th Oct. of Joan Burke’s death. Joan gave a lifetime of spirited work to promote Irish traditional music, song and dance and the wellbeing of all. Joan was an influential figure in Comhaltas both at grass roots and at the highest levels. At the time of her death Joan was our Branch Treasurer and Chairman of the London Region. The church resounded to music and song from Branch members, including her family. Joan would have enjoyed it. Over the 51 year history of our Branch many people have been vital to its life. For many years the Burke family - Joan and John, their sons and daughter and two of her teenage children – have been some of those people. They have spent a lifetime serving on Comhaltas Committees and have been the backbone of our seisiún, despite having to travel from Luton. This year has been no exception. Thank you John to you and your family from us all. The congregation moved on to our AGM at the Irish Centre. It was well-attended and thankfully several people stood for places on the Committee and were duly elected, bringing essential new blood to the Committee. The AGM was followed immediately by our monthly session.

West London Branch Committee elected 12/10/07

Position Elected Position Elected
Chairman John Burke Committee Member Aidan Burke
Vice Chairman Tony Buffery Committee Member Maire Ni Ceallaigh
Secretary Thomas Beaumont Committee Member Mary Farrell
Treasurer Marian Turner Committee Member Lesley Spencer
P.R.O. Siobhan Caulfield Committee Member Martin Murray
Youth Officer Katie Crean Delegates to Region Bernie Crean
Auditor Tony McGeever Delegates to Region Tony Buffery
Treoraí na Gaeilge Vacant Delegates to Region Tom Beaumont

Committee members represented the Branch at the regular London and Southern Region committee meetings throughout the year; and at the Provincial AGM and Convention, which were held in Scotland again 15-17th February 2008. At that AGM the Province adopted two reports that it had commissioned, one on Child Protection and the other on Data Protection. Along with all the other Branches our Committee is bound by the relevant procedures that Province has put in place.

Branch membership is relatively healthy: 33 Families + 38 Adults + 10 Juniors

2008 AGM 7:30 p.m. Friday 10/10/08 Irish Cultural Centre
We held our 2008 AGM, 7:30 p.m. Friday 10/10/08 at the Irish Cultural Centre (see above for address) followed by our October seisiún. West London Branch Committee elected 10/10/08

Position Elected Position Elected
Chairman Aidan Burke Vice Chairman Martin Murray
Secretary Thomas Beaumont Treasurer Marian Turner
P.R.O. Siobhan Caulfield Youth Officer Eleanor Murray
Auditor John Burke Delegates to Region Mary Farrell
Delegates to Region Martin Murray Delegates to Region Tom Beaumont
Treoraí na Gaeilge James McDonald Committee Member Edward Cahill
Committee Member Ryan Caulfield

London and Southern Region Fleadh 18th May 2008 Haringey Irish Centre
Our main focus in 2007/8 was to run the 2008 London and Southern Region Fleadh successfully, and this we did, thanks in large part to the generous help we received from the other Branches in the Region – East London, North London, St Albans; and to the hard work and enthusiasm of our Committee, especially the new members, under the inspirational leadership of our Chairman, John Burke. Overall it ran smoothly and was great fun thanks to the effective co-operation of the organisers and helpers and approximately 120 musicians and singers who entered this music festival. Thank you again from West London to those who gave so generously of their time and expertise to help run the Fleadh.

Pléaracha for Fleadh Nua in Ennis 23-26 May 2008
Marian Gill has been teaching Irish Traditional music for many years and organising Pléarachas (or Plearáca) - a show of music, song, dance and story or verse - for entry into the annual competition at Fleadh Nua. Her shows have won many times before, including the last few years. She started the weekly practice for 2008 in the Autumn of 2007. This year Sharon Kelly and some of her students joined Marian’s Pléaracha group. As in the past, Marian’s daughter, Ciara, led the dancers to add excitement, beauty, humour and life to the music.

The Port Mor Branch of Comhaltas in Armagh invited Marian’s group to play with them again, so over the w/e 22-24 February 2008 some 35 West London members and family and friends travelled to Northern Ireland. The atmosphere over the w/e was every bit as lively as for a stag or hen night and the hospitality from the Port Mor Branch and their friends was second to none. The scenic Servite priory and conference centre in Benburb, Co. Tyrone, played host to us. The w/e included many seisiúns of music, song and dance in several venues; a bracing tour, led by an excellent guide, of Navan Fort, – home of Brian Brú, who is buried in Armagh within sight of the fort; an enthralling tour by a born story-teller of the palace in Armagh that houses the Local Authority, where power-sharing shows hopeful signs of working. Ciara and her dancers ran a dance workshop for some of the local young people. Port Mor opened the concert on Saturday night and Marian’s group presented their Pléaracha as the second half. When the local youngsters joined the West London dancers on stage for the finale the hall went wild. The weekend will be remembered affectionately for a long time by all who had the good fortune to be there. West London won an honourable second place at Fleadh Nua in May 2008; and 48 Port Mor members and friends visited London and St Alban’s for a hectic, enjoyable weekend 26-28th September, organised by Marian.

Thomas Beaumont Hon. Secretary, West London Branch Email: [email protected]

Posted By West London

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