Over 50 young musicians from Music Generation Waterford gathered at the Theatre Royal this week for a socially-distanced recording session that captured music they have been creating and rehearsing at home since March 2020, when the Covid-19 pandemic forced all practice sessions online. 
Singers, guitarists, songwriters, uilleann pipers, concertina players, button accordion players, fiddle players, flute players, bodhrán players, harpists and banjo players were amongst the talented young performers who took to the stage over a marathon 10-hour period. The event included the first ever live performance of Music Generation Waterford’s Harp Ensemble, which was established online in January 2021 during the lockdown.  
The entire session was filmed by the Theatre Royal’s technical team, who retrained in the streaming of live performances during the Covid-19 pandemic. It will be streamed as part of a week-long virtual performance celebration taking place in early July on various social media platforms and Youtube. 
Shauna McCullough, Music Development Officer with Music Generation Waterford, noted how this was the first time that the young musicians had been together in a performance space since February 2020: 
“All of our music classes have been taking place online since the pandemic hit so getting to perform onstage at the Theatre Royal is really a celebration of the young musician’s dedication and determination to continue making music during such a difficult time. Music Generation Waterford and Theatre Royal are working together to capture how far they’ve come, against the odds and we are very excited about future possibilities of this exciting new collaboration with the team at the Theatre Royal.”   
Theatre manager Mary Boland explained how the performances had to be staggered to ensure strict adherence to public health guidelines: “This recording session took weeks of planning between our own team and Music Generation Waterford to ensure the safe movement of young musicians through the house for their recording slot, the provision of tuning and rehearsal spaces before recording and the sanitisation of performance areas between each musician’s session. Masks had to be worn and social distancing maintained when the musicians were not performing. The most important thing for us was to offer these wonderful young musicians a safe stage to play on together, after so many months practising alone, at home.” 
To find out more about Music Generation Waterford and opportunities for young musicians contact musicgenerationwaterford@wwetb.ie. To find out more about Theatre Royal upcoming events visit www.theatreroyal.ie