9,000 people ready to step on Feis stage

Today, January 31, marks the start of Feis Maitiú, featuring more than 3,000 performances by 9,000 participants over the next two months, at Father Mathew Hall, writes festival director, Timothy McCarthy
9,000 people ready to step on Feis stage
LOOKING BACK AT LAST YEAR: Scoil mhuire, Ballincollig braved the elements, snow and ice and totally enthralled the adjudicator, Marilynne Davies at their first Feis performance last year. Picture: Gerard Bonus.

THE 2019 Feis Maitiú Corcaigh begins today. This will be the 93rd festival and as always promises to be a great event in the cultural life not just in Cork City and County but in the wider Munster region.

There will be more than 3,000 performances from approximately 9,000 participants during the two months at the Feis home in Father Mathew Hall.

“The Feis” and Feis Maitiú are synonymous with Cork but performers will come from all areas in Munster as well as some visiting school choirs from Tullamore, Co. Offaly. It is a great credit to all that this Feis has continued unabated for so long.

The Cork Feis includes many aspects of the performing arts in Music, Speech and Drama, with sections in Singing, Musical Theatre, Classical Music, School Bands, Vocal and Speech Choirs, Verse Speaking, Drama, Bhéarslabhairt agus Ceol Traidisiúnta.

There are many, many highlights and indeed each and every performance itself is a highlight. There are sections for solo performances, duos, group and choirs from the very young right up to adults.

An interesting development in the last number of years is the adult Choral section. This year we will have 19 adult choirs taking part in our Adult Choral afternoon on Sunday, February 3 at Holy Trinity Church. There are 14 Primary School Choirs; 16 Secondary School Choirs and 30 Speech Choirs all taking part in the Feis. There is an adult bursary award of €2,500 (kindly sponsored by the Capuchin Order) for advance Vocal Recital, as well as two major awards for Instrumental Music.

Feiseanna and Festivals are very different from the many talent shows we currently see on TV. Our focus is very different and our ethos particular and unique. The philosophy of the Cork Feis has always been about participation and learning from the experience. We use the terms “Performer” and “Class” to emphasise that it is an educational event. And yes we do have awards but the essence is participation and the personal development of the performer.

The Feis gives participants the unique opportunity to present and perform a piece of work to an audience. The ability to communicate thoughts and ideas through either music or literature is a lifelong skill that is so essential for the personal, intellectual and social development of students. To be able to express ideas in a clear, coherent and confident manner is one of the most important abilities teachers and parents can give their children. In an age of so much social media this proficiency to physically present oneself and communicate is central to a student’s personal development.

A number of the leading performers from Cork all began at Feis Maitiú and we rejoice in their achievements and success. But the vast majority of our Feis students will not go on to become performers, but they will become the adults of the future, confident communicators, more sensitive in thoughts and ideas and they will be the fine young adults their parents and teachers hope for.

The Cork Feis is a Festival member of the International Federation of Festivals, an organisation of over 350 similar events in Ireland, the UK, Zimbabwe, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, Australia and New Zealand. Students all over the world are all doing the same thing, working on the same performance pieces and equally developing their skills at their local events. Many of our adjudicators are members of the Federation and thus we have managed to achieve a very high and unique standard at our event.

The Feis is divided into different sections. We will begin the first week with Instrumental Music, while the second week will have both Music and Singing. The third section focuses solely on singing and school choirs; followed by three weeks of English Speech and Drama. The final week in April will centre on Irish Speech and Drama and Ceol Traidisiúnta.

The Feis Programme is available on our website at www.feismaitiu.ie and at the Box Office at the Father Mathew Hall.

Updates and latest information is on our Facebook page and Twitter account. The Feis is open to the public and we are always happy to welcome audience members.

We should be very grateful to our predecessors for giving us this great event. Thanks to all the schools, teachers and parents for availing of the opportunities offered by Performing Festivals.

Thanks to the students for embracing the many events on offer. Thanks in particular to the Evening Echo for supporting us and bringing news and photos from the Feis.

Feis Maitiú is grant aided by the Department of Education through the Cork Education and Training Board.

See the Evening Echo daily for reports and pictures from Feis Maithiú.

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