CORK Youth Orchestra has achieved a new personal best by selling out their Christmas concert earlier than ever before.
The highly anticipated event will screenfilm whilst the exceptionally talented 135 orchestra members play the score live in City Hall.
The event has gained immense popularity, selling out earlier every year.
"This year we sold out a week before Halloween," Tomás McCarthy, conductor of the CYO told.
"Promoting an event can be very difficult, as can generating an audience so I think it’s a great testament to our incredible musicians that our Christmas concert has sold out so far in advance," he continued.
At the helm of Cork Youth Orchestra for the past 21 years, Tomás understands the need to take an innovative approach every year to retain the audience’s interest.
Bringing a pop flair to this year’s concert, rising success True Tides will also perform during the evening concert on December 14.
Comprising of Cian, Conor and Eoghan MacSweeny the three brothers all hail from CYO and have gone on to support the likes of All Tvvins, Delorentos and the Coronas.
They also played main stage at Castlepalooza and Indiependence Music Festivals and the 2FM Rising stage at Other Voices, Dingle.
"We have been doingconcert for the past 10 years but I always try to incorporate different elements into the shows.
"One thing I haven’t done is have a pop group on stage with us.
"True Tides have incredibly tight vocal harmonies and a unique sound.
"They have four songs on Spotify, but on the night will be performing 11 of their tracks," Tomás said.
Noting that the success of True Tides should act as an inspiration to the CYO members Tomás continued:
"They have carved out a niche for themselves and are a prime example of what can be achieved if you work hard enough.
"If you keep knocking, doors will open!"
The work ethic that being involved in an orchestra fosters benefits young people in many ways and is something that Tomás has seen plenty of evidence of over the years.
"The challenge to work through all the intricacies in a piece of music benefits people’s cognitive development and confidence in themselves.
"By chipping away at something you achieve a little success each time and this truly is character building," he said.
"A former student of mine, Orla Murphy is one of Ireland’s top engineers.
"She has many incredible accolades to her name including being listed among the Top 50 Women in Engineering by the Women’s Engineering Society.
"A lot of people who do music excel academically.
"Amongst other skills, they are fantastic at problem solving, time management and concentration.
"Music is also so important for the soul."
As well as leading the way musically, CYO members and the 14 volunteer parents involved are committed to giving back on a charitable level.
This weekend they are playing a concert in Killarney in aid of the Friends of the Children of Chernobyl.
The orchestra is also pulling its weight in the battle against climate change.
"In October we launched our 'Trees 4 Change' campaign which aims to reduce the carbon footprint of CYO by planting up to 1,000 native Irish trees in Tramore Valley Walk by the end of November.
"We achieved this goal and now our aim is to plant 5,000 trees over the next six years.
"Compounding this we have also banned plastic bottles at rehearsals and by next July we are hoping to use only electric busses to travel to venues for our concerts," Tomás said.
For the latter initiative, Tomás thanked Harris Group and also paid tribute to O'Leary Life, Ronan Daly Jermyn, AWN Consulting, Deloitte, Carey Tool Hire, Cork City Council and.
"Cork Youth Orchestra really is one of the best in Europe, but we also have a lot of people to thank for helping us in various ways."