– April 2016 –
The Monmouth College Band, under the direction of Matthew Wanken, toured Ireland from March 5 – 13. The band circled the island, flying into Dublin and visiting Cork, Killarney and Galway before returning to Dublin. This type of itinerary is ideal for a weeklong tour of Ireland. It allowed the group to experience not only the capital city of Dublin and the charming university town of Galway, but also admire the breathtaking views throughout the Irish countryside and coastline.
Sightseeing included Ireland’s two most popular sites: Blarney Castle and the Cliffs of Moher. However, the highlight for many was a day spent traveling the Ring of Kerry. The group was fortunate enough to have great weather and clear skies for this day packed with breathtaking scenery.
Two of the band’s performances were exchanges with local ensembles. “It speaks to the universality of music when two groups can come together in such a significant way,” said Wanken.
In addition to American compositions, the ensemble performed “Fantasy on a Gaelic Hymsong” by David Holsinger and “Irish Tune from County Derry” by Percy Grainger, which are inspired by traditional Celtic music. The band also performed a piece by the staff conductor of the Army No. 1 Band of the Irish Defence Forces.
The band won’t soon forget their tour of Ireland. As Wanken put it, “The ability of an ensemble to tour is one of the greatest learning experiences we can give to our students.”
We couldn’t agree more.