Jazz, Trad and the Orchestra

A review of Trinity’s Orchestra concert

On Thursday evening, after a hefty day of online lectures, I got to wind down and be serenaded during Trinity’s music societies collaborative concert showing Trinity Orchestra, Du Music, Jazz Soc and Trad Soc. The concert opened Trinity Orchestra’s virtual festival that will run through week 12, all in aid of both Pieta House and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre. 

Hosted by each society’s chairperson, live on YouTube they showed each pre-recorded performance during what felt like “one big radio show”, as said by DU Music’s chairperson, Conor Kinsella, who kick-started off the night of musical fugue. 

First up, Jazz Soc’s chairperson, Hannah Kate Ní Shioradáin, introduced Coley McManus  who gave a gorgeous and mellow rendition of Bob Dylan’s You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go. This was followed by India Riordan with a trumpet performance that transported us to downtown New Orleans. Interweaving with that was Trinity Orchestra classical violin and fiddle player Emma Maguire, playing a French-Canadian piece “Reel Beatrice” and “Jackson’s Jig” accompanied by the bodhrán. Naturally, I found myself toe-tapping in time and it was referred to as “trad shredding” by Kinsella. Alex Durac, Trinity Orchestra’s chairperson, then introduced to us Meadb Hurley who is a french horn player and conductor for the orchestra this year. Accompanied by “alien sounding piano”, and a beautiful tone she performed her original song The Only One: “It’s quite dark so I think it matches the frostiness of this winter night that I’m playing on, and it’s about a toxic relationship – I hope you don’t relate but I do hope you enjoy”. 

Following that was another original piece by stepbrothers Cathal and Johnny who make up the duo Disco Trolley. With a garden backdrop, they both entered strumming guitars to their new release Facebook Marketplace, which included sweet harmonies and interludes of South Dublin banter. 

We then saw a shift in the music as Oscar Robinson gave a passionate performance of an alto saxophone melody he put together titled Careless Pink Baker Panther Street Parts Of The Canteen Of Band Whisper – very catchy. It featured the theme songs from Pirates of the Carribean and Star Wars with stunning transitions. Lastly from Trinity Orchestra, another original work by Cliodhna Heenan (fiddle) and Naoise May (guitar)  – A fusion piece yet to be named. This was a fitting transition to Trad Soc’s secretary, Affraic Brophy, and Chairperson Claire Stafford’s duet of Planxty Joe Burke, during which you could feel the smiles of the virtual audience. Niamh O’Donnell played a slide, The Dingle Regatta, on tin whistle and the sound of the drone opened Sarah Mckenna and Simon O’Connor’s duet on uilleann pipes and fiddle of Killarney Boys of Pleasure’ and The Sally Gardens’. Domhnall Roe and Cormac Ó Gibne played a piece each on the fiddle – all agreeably go hálainn. The concert saw a major festive turn as Trad Soc’s Treasurer, Aisling Feeny, gave a family performance on fiddles and bodhrán of Ding Dong Merrily on High. Lastly from the ceoltóirí traidisiúnta we were given a Christmas mix featuring several members of Trad Soc with Santa hats and antlers, and even their instruments decorated with twinkling lights – chomh gleoite!  

DU Music graced the screen with member Erica Lu playing Chopin’s Grande Valse Brillante with heavenly trills on grand piano. There was a slight contrast in genre as Kinsella then went on to powerfully perform Nirvana‘s “Heart-Shaped Box” – nothing quite says Christmas like Nirvanapowerful in the sense that he also mastered that Cobain scream. This was followed by the society’s tech officer, Jacqueline Whelan, paying homage to The Cranberries and U2; nailing those Dolores O’Riordan riffs (any Derry Girls fan knows). With four hands on the piano, Cian Nolan and Bronagh Conroy played a duet of Schubert with perfect balance. The evening’s festivities concluded with a performance by the Trinity based group Ugolinowith Mark Deering on keys, Oran Hurley on drums, Shane Richardson on vocals and Jonny McIvor on guitar they gave us their original song Early Hours. With soft beats it was as viewers praised in the streams chat: “vibey”. 

Although the acoustics in my room didn’t quite match those of the Exam Hall, I was simply amazed by the range of musical talent we have in Trinity. Throughout the duration of the concert the society’s GoFundMe page reached over half of its goal in aid of Pieta House and the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (link can be found on all Trinity Orchestra social media platforms). Be sure to tune in to Trinity Orchestra’s Lockdown Palooza online festival events all next week, supporting these two amazing charities.