MYWE Tour Day 7: MYWE meet MAYO~

I’ve been an orchestra girl all my life… but in the past week, I’ve fallen in love with Wind Ensemble. There is a certain magic among MYWE players. Certainly the tour magic is buzzing. We have just  finished day 7 of our tour and the feeling of comradery and family is high! Lifelong friendships have been formed.

 

Day 7-another long day. We started with a visit to the National Museum of Country Life. A fascinating journey about discovering what Irish Country life was like between 1850 and 1950. The weather today was stunning, so student also enjoyed the beautiful outdoor grounds of the museum.

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Afterwards, we returned to our wonderful Hotel,(Hotel Castlecourt in Westport) for a group lunch. A “carver” lunch of different meats, salmon and Irish Stew… with potatoes of course. (everything in Ireland is served with potatoes!)

Following Lunch students enjoyed some brief time to relax at the hotel before we headed off to meet our new friends in the Mayo Youth Orchestra. What a delight! we rehearsed our joint pieces with them in an afternoon organized by the Whistleblast Group. Once again, the universal language of music brought us all together. After rehearsals, student enjoyed playing soccer- or really football;)

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This second half of the day was spent at the Saint Patrick School for boys. A lovely elementary school. That also has a life-size chess board in the courtyard- so you can imagine we have a few games of chess today as well!

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The Musical finale of our tour was held in the main hall at the school where locals of all ages joined us. The Mayo Youth Orchestra performing first( including the theme from James Bond!) followed by MYWE and then our joint performance. Our student were sensational.

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A quick trip back to our hotel were many MYWE student celebrated with a Pool Party and then it was time to pack again for our 6:30 am wake up call!!

 

Sweet Dreams.

Rebecca Bogers

NEC Prep Director


From Derry to Westport, and all the places in between!

Today was primarily a travel day. We hopped on the bus early morning towards Westport, which is where we are as I type. We made a few pit stops along the way that were very enjoyable. And most importantly, we played our final chamber music concert tonight at our hotel, the CastleCourt Hotel, which is beautiful and in my opinion is our nicest hotel so far.

We made 3 pit stops along the way:

1. Donegal! We were released from the coach for about an hour to explore the quaint little square of shopping places, coffee shops, and restaurants. It was yet another excellent opportunity to buy more gifts and try some local snacks.

2. We also stopped at the grave of famous Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, in Drumcliffe, Ireland. The graveyard is located next to a little church with swan doorhandles, which are in reference to one of his poems.

3. We then drove to Sligo, a quaint beachy-feeling town for lunch. Some of us had Irish food, others had Italian, and beyond.

After our pit stops, we arrived at our 3rd hotel on the tour (out of 4) called CastleCourt Hotel in Westport. We then had a chance to have a few hours of free time. We then had dinner, at in my opinion, the best restaurant we have eaten at yet. A few of us have dietary restrictions (myself included) and the hotel staff was just so accommodating and friendly. All other foods I heard were delicious also!

After the hotel, we had our 2nd and final chamber music concert, which was a total success. All the groups played wonderfully.

Here are some photos from the day:

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Now, a few words from some of our students!

Ben Webster, 17 years old from Wrentham
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
My favorite part of the tour has been getting the opportunity to explore the towns we’ve been staying in. Tonight when we were walking around we met the nicest people and it was great talk with them.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m looking forward to seeing the Cliffs of Moher. I’ve only seen them in pictures and they look amazing.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
It stood out to me how friendly people are. They always seem interested in where we are from and what we’re doing in Ireland.

Meg Dooley, 17 years from Holliston, MA

What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Watching an Irish step dancing performance and then learning to do it ourselves– it was so fun and exciting!

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Meeting people tomorrow that are other musicians our age, just from a different culture and also going to Limerick where Antoinette tells me my family is from.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
All the people are so hospitable and friendly and just willing to spend time with other people and get to know them! Also the portion sizes are so much nicer and manageable and it makes me very happy :)

Erin Mernoff, Chaperone, Older sister of trumpet player Kayla Mernoff and Music Teacher at Taylor Exemplar Academy in Taylor, MI
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I enjoyed learning the Ceili dance at the Jig Museum and getting to hear traditional Irish music played on the Uilleann pipes!

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I am looking forward to hearing MYWE and the Mayo Youth Orchestra perform together!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
I had known of the Troubles, but did not know the severity of the violence and similarities to the American Civil Rights Movement.

Matan Silver, 17 years old from Lexington, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I really enjoyed the quality time I spent with the other MYWE members on the plane and long bus rides!

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m really looking forward to seeing more of the beautiful Irish countryside and learning more about the rich culture here.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
I was very impressed by the large influence that Ireland has had on other countries. We learned that there are Irish people all over the world (including japan!).

Jungwan Kim, 17 years old from Lexington, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I enjoyed playing at the Derry Playhouse. The Irish girls that we met earlier came to see us, which was really nice.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m looking forward to the joint rehearsal and performance tomorrow!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
Everyone is really nice and friendly here.

Chris Rohlicek, 16 years old from Watertown, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
The bus rides. Brian is the man.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Joint concert with the Irish!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
The fact that there are almost exclusively middle-eastern restaurants in all of Ireland.

Lena Huh, 17 years old from Sharon, MA 
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
My favorite part of the tour was exploring and walking on the walls of Derry. The walls were high enough to allow us to see a great view of the town and the green fields.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I’m looking forward to learning more about the other players in MYWE as well as playing with the MAYO Youth Orchestra.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
I found it very interesting that the history of Ireland is very old and much more complicated than I had realized.

Kayla Mernoff, 15 years old from Longmeadow, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Getting a chance to walk around all of the different areas and see all of the different shops and restaurants.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
The joint Mayo rehearsal and concert and getting to meet musicians from Ireland.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
They say take away instead of take out, it’s really cute!

Julia Fritz-Endres, 17 years old from Carlisle, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I enjoyed playing outside in St. Stephen’s Green. It was great to see people walk by and stop to listen to us. I have never performed outside before, and it added a whole new element.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
I am excited to go to the workshop and play with the MAYO orchestra. We haven’t been able to interact with any Irish musicians yet and I think that it will be a memorable experience.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
People here seem to be more laid-back. They take their time and aren’t always rushing from place to place. I think that we (New Englanders) can learn from that.

Diana McLaughlin, 18 years old from Pembroke, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
The maritime festival in Derry because the fireworks were really pretty and they had a carousel.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Everyone’s saying the joint concert, so something different that I’m looking forward to would be seeing the Cliffs of Moher!

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
A lot of things close earlier than stores in the U.S, and they open a lot later (if they open at all) on Sundays

Jill DiMeo, 17 years old from Needham, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Meeting new friends in MYWE and getting to know everyone.

What are you looking forward to in the days to come?
Playing with the Mayo Youth Orchestra and getting to know musicians our age from a different country.

What is something about Irish culture that you found to be eye opening?
They put mayonnaise on salads… other than that, the food is surprisingly similar to American food.

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Tomorrow we play our final concert and spend another night in Westport. More to come!

Yours in Ireland,

Ana


(London)derry Day 2

Today was the 2nd day in Derry.

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Here’s what we did!

1. Ate delicious breakfast. There was a pancake machine which was amazing.

2. We had a walking tour of Derry, where we learned about the the history of the city, complete with all of the tensions between Protestants and Catholics, and Northern Ireland vs. The Republic. I don’t feel qualified to represent all the knowledge we learned, but it was definitely an eye-opening experience to learn so much about the RECENT bloodshed and civil war. The tour guide was a war child during the whole thing and it was absolutely fascinating to learn about all of the intensity from someone who had experienced it all firsthand. We drove past some graffiti art representing the events, walked along the wall, and ended the tour with the award-winning Tower Museum. I give it an A+

We returned to the hotel for a light lunch for sandwiches and then all individually departed for chamber music dress rehearsals at St. Columb’s Cathedral, where we had a 2pm chamber concert. The groups played amazingly. I am so proud of all of them!

4. After the concert, we had free time. Some people went to eat more, spend the last of our sterling pounds, or rest.

5. We had a delicious dinner again at the hotel.

6. We departed for our 2nd full-ensemble concert at the Playhouse Derry. MYWE played stunningly. I am so proud of them AGAIN! The concert was very well received. A representative from the national orchestra came and said that we were the first ‘wind band’ (european term for wind ensemble, virtually) that had moved her. Also, Ben Hartman (euphonium)’s little relatives sat still for a concert for the first time! :)

7. We are having some free time tonight before packing up and leaving Derry tomorrow. We depart very early for Westport tomorrow.

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A few notes from some of our students!

Akshitha Ramachandran, 15 years old from Winchester, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
Sightseeing and seeing all the picturesque views of island.

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
More performances and imbibing more Irish culture.

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
How cordially people are in general. A 14 yr old girl talked to us for an hour an a half yesterday!

Dhanya Kumar, 18 years old from Shrewsbury, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
Talking to Irish school girls and learning what they watch on TV and what music they listen to.

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
I hope to visit where game of thrones takes place.

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
Yesterday I learned instead of “what’s up” they say “what’s the crack?”

Tevin Li, 16 years old, Lexington, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
Just playing.

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
More playing.

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
Honestly, right before my trip my younger brother kept asking me ‘is everyone in Ireland white and pale, named Seamus and have weird accents?’ I’ve learned that there are a lot of similarities between the Irish and Americans. The Irish are much different than as portrayed in the media.

Allen Yang, 16 years old from Jamaica Plain, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
The fireworks.

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
Performing in more venues. Experiencing Ireland more.

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
There are not many Asian people around. It’s not as diverse as Boston.

Brian Rappaport, 18 years old from Wellesley, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
I very much liked Derry (Londonderry) and the European feel. Nice vibe. I enjoyed playing the concerts

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
More concerts  and seeing more of Ireland.

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
I did not understand the degree to which the “troubles” and the separation of UK and Rep of Ireland impacted Irish life especially in Derry. It’s not something I’ve ever really known anything about and I found it very eye-opening.

Morgan Jackson, 17 years old, from Arlington, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
Exploring the walls of Derry and finding random hole-in-the-wall shops everywhere

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
I’m really excited to visit Limerick, I’ve heard its a cool bohemian city!

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
The fact that it’s called “take-away” rather than take-out foods. Also the difference is striking- European sodas have real sugar and Fanta is made with real oranges. Like, what? Why don’t we have that in the US? It’s so much better!

Katharine Silva, 17 years old from Brookline, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
Getting to explore Dublin and Derry!

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
Seeing the Cliffs of Moher- they sound beautiful

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
I’m still trying to figure out how to cross the streets

Colin Roshak, 18 years old from Boston, MA (Walnut Hill student)

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
Kebab.

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
Going back to get more kebab.

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
The kebab.

Nicholas Hooks, 18, Merritt Island, FL (Walnut Hill student)

What is your favorite part of the tour so far?
Having local Irish people come and see our performance.

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
Definitely seeing more sights of Ireland and getting to know the culture

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
The amount of Middle Eastern restaurants that are sprinkled throughout the wee Irish streets.

Kristen Ingraham, 17 years old from Milton, MA

What is your favorite part of the tour so far? 
Making new friends with other MYWE students. I’ve made friends with people who I’ve never talked to before. This trip has brought us together.

What are you looking forward to for the remainder of the tour?
Tonight’s concert and the joint concert with the Mayo Youth Orchestra.

 

What is something eye-opening for you about Irish culture?
People are friendlier here. I’ve never known much about Irish history so it was interesting to visit the ulster museum and the history of Derry itself and the civil.

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Yours in Ireland,

Ana


To Derry/Londonderry!

Yes, Derry and Londonderry are the same thing. Thanks to our lovely tour guide Antoinette, we’ve learned that there are many (too long for me to go into it right now… you’ll see why after I recall the events of the very long day today) political reasons that Northern Ireland (where we are now) is actually a different country than the rest of the island. Also – when you hear a person refer to Derry as Derry or Londonderry as Londonderry, or Derry as Londonderry, etc. etc. etc., it can be seen as a reflection of the political stance the person who is saying it feels about the situation, that apparently is much more diffused than we think it is.

Anyway – it seems like we are all calling it DERRY. Nothing political of course – it’s just shorter and that’s how it was introduced to us.

SO – a quick recap with some photos. I will give a more in-depth analysis of today’s events. Also just so the world knows- we do not have free wifi in this hotel. There is a 5 pound (about $10USD) charge per person per device per day (yup), so if you don’t hear from us – that’s why!

1. We woke up very early and departed for Derry around 9am. It was a very sleepy trip. Along the way, we stopped at rest area so we could all stretch our legs and buy junk food (woohoo)!

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2. We drove for about 2 hours more and stopped at the Ulster American Folk Park which was an interactive display of the way life was in Ireland in the 1800s, right after the American Revolution. They had locals dressed and acting as locals from that time period, explaining different things to us about the lifestyle. It was an amazingly authentic experience with many amazing views along the way. I highly recommend it if you ever end up in Ulster… Here are some photos!

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3. Afterwards, we drove to Derry, which is the only remaining walled city in Ireland. We had a few hours of free time then we all met for dinner.

4. Dinner – it was yummy!

5. There’s a pirate festival going on in Derry and the last night was tonight. We went to the riverfront where there were some food and souvenir tents, then they had fireworks!

6. We all headed home and to sleep.

I apologize for the lack of photos in the 2nd half of this post. I will post more in-depth and with more photos tomorrow. The internet here is extremely weak and is not properly uploading photos. There might be some on our Facebook page so please check them out there.

Tomorrow is a long day – 2 concerts: 1 chamber music concert and 1 full ensemble concert. More to come on today’s events and tomorrow’s!

Also – if you have any questions please feel free to comment below and we’ll respond ASAP!

Yours in Ireland,

Ana

 


24+ hours in Dublin

We all woke up today extremely well rested. We really really needed the sleep last night. The last time anyone here has slept in a bed before last night was Tuesday night in Boston. yes that was about 40 hours before we all hit the sack.

We rose and had a delicious buffet style breakfast, complete with Irish offerings such as Irish bacon and blood pudding.

20140627-213706-77826510.jpgHere’s a photo of our rock star flute section after breakfast:

20140627-213754-77874954.jpgAfter breakfast we had our first tour rehearsal at the hotel. It was fun to finally play again together in Ireland for the first time since arriving.

20140627-214125-78085512.jpgShortly after, we departed for St. Stephen’s Green, a major park in the south of Dublin, to play in their bandstand.

20140627-214311-78191647.jpgWe performed a combination of Irish tunes and American music, and ended of course with Star-Spangled Banner. There was a moment before we played Irish tune by Percy Grainger, which features the melody of Danny Boy, that I found to be incredible. Mr. Mucci pointed out right before we played that we are in fact in IRELAND! Seems obvious I know- but what an amazing opportunity and privilege it is for us to play this beautiful Irish music for an Irish audience, in Ireland, on the beautiful day that it was. :’) tears of pure happiness…

Anyway, there were over 350 people out to watch the concert- and people of all ages!

We then returned to the hotel for a very abbreviated lunch and then made our way back towards Grafton street for an Irish jig/reel performance and we all learned to dance! It was tiring and we all got sweaty but it was SUPER FUN. visit the NEC prep Facebook page for a video… ;)

20140627-214633-78393670.jpgWe then had a few hours of free time, where we all separated into groups to explore the city. Some groups went shopping, some ate, some just walked around a explored the sights. All around a great time!

Then we headed home for dinner and sang a happy birthday to MYWE saxophonist Matthew Kiel, who turns 19 today! HAPPY BIRTHDAY MATTHEW! (Don’t worry- he didn’t eat any of it due to food allergies)!

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As I type, we are all relaxing at the hotel after a long day. Here’s a photo of some students playing cards in the lobby, with a few words by a few of them to follow….

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Eric Chen, 15 years old from Newton, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Learning the jig because it was active, interesting, and new!

What are you looking forward to most?
The next (indoors) concert in Derry.

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
Hearing Gaelic for the first time.

Jeremy Freudberg, 17 years old from Newton, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
I ate a delicious chocolate brownie gelato from a shop on Grafton Street.

What are you looking forward to most?
Seeing Mayo youth orchestra perform.

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
Tax is included in the prices of everything.

Patrick Noonan, 17 years old from Wrentham, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Honestly, getting chance to wander around and see Dublin. I’ve always wanted to see Ireland and it’s great to be in the capital.

What are you looking forward to most?
Playing the concert in the cathedral in Derry.

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
I wasn’t expecting to learn to dance the Irish Jig- and it was a lot of fun!

Abraham Zimmerman, 17 years old from Melrose, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Exploring Dublin with our small group on our own. We needed to use a map.

What are you looking forward to most?
Performing chamber music in the cathedral in Derry.

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
How heavy the euro coins are. They make you feel rich.

Sean Delaney, 15 years old from Winchester, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
The service of Aer Lingus. (Side note: Sean’s bag has been misplaced in transit and we are still waiting front to be returned.) #aerlingus #findit)

What are you looking forward to most?
The combined concert with Westport / Getting my bag back. (#pleaseaerlingus)

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
The Irish accents seem fake.

Alex Ennes, 17 years old from Wrentham, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
The free time getting lunch and seeing the city.

What are you looking forward to most?
Seeing the Cliffs of Moher. It’s been on my bucket list.

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
Learning the jig and the cars driving on the wrong side of the street.

Ben Hartman, 16 years old from Natick, MA
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
My new Irish cap.

What are you looking forward to most?
Buying more hats

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
You see morecar brands here like Citroen and Peugeot.

Tijs van Maaren, 17 years old from Hamilton, MA (Walnut Hill recent graduate)
What was your favorite part of the tour so far?
Playing music.

What are you looking forward to most?
Playing more concerts.

What is something culturally eye opening about Ireland for you?
Everyone speaks English. I’m surprised that more people aren’t speaking French. When I was in Holland it seemed like everyone was speaking French. (Tijs is Dutch)

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Tomorrow we head over to Northern Ireland, to the city of Derry. It is about 3 hours away and it is actually a different country than the Ireland we are currently in. It is part of the United Kingdom, but on the same island we are on. Exciting!

Yours in Ireland,
Ana



TO PLAY WITHOUT PASSION IS INEXCUSABLE! LUDWIG VAN BEETHOVEN