TRADITIONAL Irish music took an exciting step forward in Strabane recently when a range of local people came together to form a new Strabane branch of Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann.
With hundreds of branches throughout Ireland and across the globe, Comhaltas is the largest organisation involved in the preservation and promotion of Irish traditional music.
The Comhaltas runs over 1,000 weekly classes and also organises the annual county fleadhs and All-Ireland Fleadh Cheoil.
At the founding meeting in the Gaelscoil a new committee was elected and work is underway to get the branch formally registered, to roll out the registration of new members throughout the town and wider district, and to begin plans for the teaching of music, supporting and organising sessions and traditional music events locally, and engaging with other groups and agencies interested in promoting Irish traditional music.
Brendan Gallagher, who was elected first Cathaoirleach (chairperson) of the new Strabane Branch of Comhaltas stated, “Irish traditional music has an unbroken history in Strabane, sometimes kept alive by individuals, sometimes by other l0cal groups, and trad sessions still continue to this day.
“We hope to add to this history and to contribute even more in the time ahead. We feel the time is right to connect the community of traditional music in Strabane to the wider Comhaltas regionally and nationally.
“This is a completely new venture and is open to anyone locally interested in learning, teaching, promoting or participating in Irish traditional music”.
“We would love to see a Tyrone County Fleadh come to Strabane in the future” stated Máire Ní Dhochartaigh, secretary of the new branch.
“But we have a lot of work to do before that becomes a reality. The first step is to increase the numbers of people who have access to the music, especially amongst our youth, but also amongst the adult population.
“Providing music classes and events is the first building block of an Irish traditional music community”.
The new Strabane Comhaltas is calling on anyone interested in registering for membership, to learn instruments in the new year, or merely to show support in any way, to contact the new Comhaltas branch by email on firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Seán on 079 12662796 (after 6pm).
More general information on the work of the Comhaltas can be found on www.comhaltas.ie.
The Strabane Comhaltas hope to organise a formal launching Family Trad Session in the centre of Stra- bane Town on Saturday, January 26.
Keep an eye in the press for further details, or follow Strabane Comhaltas on facebook on Comhaltas an tSratha Báin.
The officer board of the new branch consists of: Brendan Gallagher, chairperson; Máire Ní Dhochartaigh, secretary; Raymond Barr, treasurer; Seán Mór Ó Daimhín and James McCallion PROs; Lianna McIntyre, Oifigeach Óige (youth offi-
cer); Colmán Mac an Chrosáin, Oifigeach na Gaeilge; Michaela Boyle, vice-chair; Sinéad Duffy assistant secretary.
Those present also became members of the wider committee group.
Posted: 7:00 pm December 8, 2018