A time of note as Ballymun Music Room celebrates 10 year anniversary

by Rachel Darcy

The Ballymun Music Room is celebrating 10 years this February as the centre of the Ballymun Music Programme, continuing to have a positive impact on the local area.

Initiated as part of Dublin City Council’s Ballymun Rengeneration Project, the centre is credited with opening up a new world of music for children, with the Music Room continuing to be every bit as impactful, urgent and innovative today as it was in 2009.

Maura Doyle from the music programme said: “The music programme is a great opportunity for students to develop confidence in themselves and even challenge perceptions of Ballymun.

“Over the past decade it has been a pleasure to highlight the talent and creativity among our students.”

Ron Cooney is the Musical Director of The Ballymun Music Programme, which has been running successful programmes for children in North Dublin since 1996.

Cooney said: “The Music Room is significant in helping to ensure that music education is embedded in the community.

“Music has an immense power to connect people and is a really effective educational tool.

“It’s extremely satisfying to see the students so receptive to the programme, year in, year out, and the Music Room has been an invaluable tool in that regard.”

Director Frank Berry captured the first days of the Music Room in a documentary, released in 2011, striking a cord with the public when it screened on RTE 1.

In addition to featuring a number of students, the film also followed the making of a specially composed CD by Daragh O’Toole, entitled Ballymun Lullaby, which featured performances from the students of the Music Programme alongside the RTE Concert Orchestra.

One student featured in the film, Tara O’Brien, emphasised how much music has given her an improved confidence and self-esteem, and she expressed a desire to complete a Bachelor of Music Degree and to return to Ballymun to inspire a new generation of music lovers.

Now, some ten years on, Tara teaches in the same music room which fostered and supported her interest in music.

Over the past decade, students of the Ballymun Music Programme have visited and performed in distinguished venues such as Trinity College Dublin, Dublin Castle, The National Convention Centre, Cork City Hall and the National Concert Hall.

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