Cork Youth Orchestra (CYO) are back for their first spectacular and energy-filled concert since the pandemic, as they are set to perform alongside some special guests in Cork City Hall on May 21.
The concert, called ‘Bridging the Gap’, will be a triumphant return to live performance for the 130-strong teenage orchestra, the largest and oldest youth orchestra in Ireland, and finally close a two-year gap in their usually busy concert schedule.
Tomás McCarthy, musical director for the CYO, said that the group can’t wait to get back on stage.
“We have a long history, thousands of past members, and many hundreds of fabulous performances through the decades. It been a very challenging two and a half years. This is our first concert back, and we’re thrilled and so happy to be back performing for the public. This is a happy event. This is a celebration of us coming back to play,” he said.
The orchestra was able to resume regular rehearsals in September, following the generous donation of a socially distanced rehearsal space from Ursuline Secondary School, and air purifiers from the orchestra’s main sponsor, Harris Group.
“For members, it’s been very therapeutic on a personal level because they were able to meet their friends and rekindle old friendships. Coming close to Christmas, with the uncertainty of the pandemic, our Snowman matinee in City Hall was not to be, and we ended up performing our full concert in our rehearsal space to 10 parents, while everybody else stayed in their cars. It was happy, but it was very sad as well,” said Mr McCarthy.
“We kept rehearsing not knowing if we would have a concert at all this year, then, then quite recently, City Hall opened up as a concert venue again, and we got a date on May 21,” he said.
Special guests at the concert will be Irish pop trio True Tides, who will perform a full set, backed by the of CYO. The band of three brothers Cian, Conor, and Eoghan previously played with the orchestra to a sold out crowd in City Hall in 2019.
“We had an incredible concert with True Tides before the pandemic. It was such a high energy, a band fully orchestrated with 130 players behind them, you won’t get this anywhere else. It’s quite stunning,” said Mr McCarthy.
CYO will also be joined on stage by The Performers Academy Choir, for renditions of classical pieces, as well as crowd-pleasing covers from Frozen, the Muppets and ET, to name a few.
The orchestra will also screen their recent video released on Earth Day in April, to encourage positive action on climate change. The video was created in partnership with the Embassy of Ireland in Mozambique, Basilio Nvumba and soloist Dom Jnr.
Mr McCarthy said there have been many people working to bring together the “superb event” – from Michelle de Faubert, whose mother was on the original founding committee of the CYO in 1958, to Irene Warren’s Performer’s Academy Choir, and Patrick McBeth, principal of Ursuline Secondary School.
“We also couldn’t do this without the financial support of the businesses in Cork who come out to support us... and City Hall is always very good to us too,” he said.
A small number of tickets are still on sale for €20 apiece including booking fee, for the concert which starts at 8pm on Saturday, May 21.