CBOI LIGHTS UP NEW YORK WITH TEN STANDING OVATIONS AT CARNEGIE HALL
Since it’s first opening night in 1891, Carnegie Hall has showcased the world’s finest artists, from Tchaikovsky to Mahler, From Horowitz and Callas to Bernstein – even Judy Garland and the Beatles!! Last Thursday night a capacity audience thronged the iconic Carnegie Hall, New York where it was once again the turn of the Cross Border Orchestra of Ireland.
Following years of practice and commitment to the CBOI, the 110 young members of the Orchestra had truly earned their place on that magnificent stage. The music was in their fingertips; they were focused, connected and at their best. Many staunch CBOI supporters travelled from Ireland for the performance including long time CBOI sponsors Kate and Larry Goodman; while hundreds more travelled from all over New York and surrounding states. With every seat taken, the atmosphere in the hall was alive with excitement, anticipation and huge expectation.
From the second the first note sounded, the energy and spirit bursting from the stage blew everyone away. Maestro Gearoid Grant literally danced his way through the programme from the podium as he led musicians and audience on a magnificent journey through the rich heritage and culture of Ireland; and through a range of powerful emotions which saw the audience both laugh and cry. Their phenomenal, dazzling performance rocked the audience to its feet for no less than TEN prolonged and well-deserved standing ovations. Messages of congratulations, still pouring in from New York described the concert as “Magical”, “Moving”, “Inspirational”, “Uplifting”, “Powerfully emotional”, “Flawless” and so on and on and on.
The CBOI’s soloists sparkled on the night. Seventeen year-old Soprano Megan Ruby Walsh from Co. Meath, was angelic and enthralling in her performances of “Ellis Island” and “Danny Boy”. Louth Violinist Patricia Treacy showed her full range of skill playing classically arranged Irish music which combined exquisite slow airs and dazzling virtuosity. New York based tenors Michael Bodnyk and Colm T. Reilly wowed the audiences with captivating solos. CBOI percussionist Sinead Cook doubled as dancer and performed a dazzling tap. The genius of Co. Monaghan Uilleann Piper Patrick Martin, and brilliance of Belfast Bagpiper Grahame Harris were augmented when they were joined on stage by the outstanding pipers from Bethlehem City Pipe Band.
The CBOI was delighted to be joined on stage by choirs drawn from The Academy of Holy Angels; Archbishop Stepinac High School; Camp Rhythmo Singers; Fairfield County Children’s Choir; Saint Joseph Regional High School; Saint Margaret School; Saint Mary’s Youth Choir, as well as the Trinity Ringers and Camp Rhythmo Ringers who made up the Handbell Choir. The CBOI’s core message of universal Peace was powerfully conveyed when the Orchestra was joined by over 100 Handbell Ringers and Choirs, who performed a sublime programme of anthems including “One World In Harmony” and “Let There be Peace”. All performers joined forces for “Climb Every Mountain”, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” and concert finale, Shaun Davy’s monumental choral and orchestral work, “May We Never Have to Say Goodbye” which brought down the house in spectacular fashion!
From the stage, Consul General Barbara Jones spoke about the CBOI’s major cultural presence in Ireland and beyond; about their enormous contribution to the Peace Process in Northern Ireland and about their importance as Ireland’s leading Arts Education initiative. She paid tribute to the enormous collective talent of the CBOI group and the invaluable work that the CBOI does in bringing the Irish Diaspora together throughout the World. “Ireland and the Irish Diaspora are very proud of the Cross Border Orchestra”, she extolled.
The sun continued to shine on the CBOI for the rest of the week. A deep sense of satisfaction coupled with clear blue skies and mellow autumnal weather made sight-seeing all the more enjoyable. Visits to the Empire state Building, 9/11 Memorial and Central Park; Ice Skating in Bryant Park; Phantom of the Opera on Broadway and a cruise around Manhattan Island were just rewards for this outstanding group of young people.
Originally funded through EU Peace Funds, the CBOI is now self-supporting and depends on the generosity of our sponsors. We are deeply indebted to all our donors in the US and Ireland and to everyone who helps to make our dreams possible. Special and sincere thanks to the CBOI’s New York Executive Board in particular Co-Chairs Dr. Ciaran Grant and Orla Maguire-Moore whose vision, energy and drive continue to inspire us. Special thanks to the CBOI’s hugely dedicated Parents Association whose tireless commitment to the Orchestra is one of our greatest strengths.