A tiny review of a very music filled year and plans ahead….

Another year done and what a year we’ve had!  So much growth & progress from all the classes, great confidence, better skills and lots of laughs along the way!

musiSHOWS: We had shows EVERYWHERE!  From ages 3 and up – Boogie Bugs, Wee Glee Singers, Guitar Academy classes & Sliabh Sneacht Singers had brilliant shows, as did many of our preschool groups….

CLASSES:  We added some new classes through the wonderful Sliabh Sneacht Centre – a guitar academy class and a new singing group and both are doing so so well!

RECORDING:  In the Spring, I was able to get funding from the Donegal County Council to record the Wee Glee Singers singing ‘The Ballad of 1916’.  I am really planning to make recording a regular feature of our music school, but will take a little time to get that in place….

NEW TEACHERS:  We had guest teachers at our Summer camps and running some Summer groups.  They will be returning early in the new year to teach new skills to older guitar classes and singers.

‘THE BALLAD OF 1916’ – this wee song took a trip around the world and was performed by choirs in San Francisco, while the Wee Glee recording was played at a large event in New York to rename a street ‘Easter Rising Way’.  Their version was also added to the Department of Educations online resource site http://www.scoilnet.ie and got lots of radio play too!

BERNIE’S MUSIC: I played, sang and wrote lots and enjoyed running the second season of ‘Live & Original’, as well as singing at Earagail Arts Festival & Centenary events and on local radio.  I really hope to work towards a wee EP in 2017 and get back to more writing which definitely took a back seat in the last few months of 2016!

LIVE & ORIGINAL SESSIONS: Music for the grown ups!  2016 was my second year of running this event which started exclusively for original material but has grown into more of a music/poetry club welcoming all kinds of music and covers as well as originals.  We’re starting our year with a really special charity event in January, before settling into a regular routine of Live & Original every two months showcasing writing/performing from every possible genre of music as well as great writing from local and visiting poets.  These nights run on a BYOB basis and ask for a donation to The Exchange as admission.  We need nights like these, but we need your support to keep them going so come on out for a great night of entertainment & craic!

THE ANTI BULLYING ART EXHIBITION

Started as a three year project, it exceeded expectations this year with a massive amount of submissions.  Many of these will be exhibited in The Playhouse in the spring of 2017 as they celebrate their 25th year in operation.

The Year Ahead……

There are Government backed plans to cultivate and support creativity throughout the country and I will certainly be talking to our local representatives to make sure our area is represented well in this area.  Community and affordable music are central to the creativity of our future generations so we hope they take this opportunity to represent our youngest citizens.  I am happy to forward them our ideas and plans so they can be included in our county’s efforts.

Guitarists (especially older classes) will have more access to intricate work like power & barre chords, theory, scales and chord variations

Singers will work on more songs obviously, but we’ll also work on more harmony, our posture, performances, singing exercises etc and continue to up our game and become more professional!

Boogie Bugs have shown that they can put a really nice show together as they did with their mini Nativity and Christmas songs, we’ll build on that for summer as well as continue to foster confidence at the mic, fun and creativity in their music and a real sense of belonging in the musical world!

Classes running at The Exchange only will have a small increase in class fees this year.  From Jan 1st they will all increase by €1.  I did manage to remember to send home notes with most classes but I know there were two I missed.  It’s the first raise in 6 years but still sees us at the lower end of class prices in the area.  I do take care also not to heap additional costs on families throughout the year.

Thanks so much for sticking with The Music Box, we’re getting better all the time, learning from each other, taking cues for our future from the children and what they need and want to learn and hopefully they are enjoying the work too! See you in the new year!! ❤

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The Music Box….in a nutshell!

Here’s a quick introduction to us if you’ve ever wondered exactly what happens in this busy  wee group! The Music Box is a tiny Music School that operates as a social enterprise by offering affordable music & pairing it with community projects!

Our main areas of focus are:

  • Affordable & engaging music/guitar/singing/songwriting & performance for children from early yrs on in schools & community (www.facebook.com/themusicboxschool)
  • Inclusion of visual art & the well being of our children & community through art (www.facebook.com/antibullyingartexhibition)
  • Encouragement  for adults to write & opportunity for them to perform through our non profit events – Live & Original (www.facebook.com/liveandoriginalsessions)
  • Community & Voluntary work in the arts and other areas through The Exchange which we co-founded 4 years ago. (www.facebook.com/theexchangeinishowen)

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It all started with our early years music & movement class, Boogie Bugs – but as our kids grew – so did we!! Everything we do is very much inspired by classes in the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago, and as the class list expanded to include singing groups and guitar lessons, school programmes & songwriting, the Old Town School continued to be an inspiration with their relaxed teaching methods, performance driven classes and opportunities for music, writing, creativity and performance at every age.

As a social enterprise, community work is a regular part of The Music Box, creating and supporting art based anti bullying projects locally and beyond, providing affordable music opportunities, running Live and Original Sessions as a support for original works by adults, and working with The Exchange Inishowen.