Every few weeks we will be profiling a former member of CBYO and catching up with what they have been doing since leaving the orchestra. We aim to start with recent members and work back through the last 59 years !
Profile No.1 Jimmy Donaghy - Viola 2011 - 2013
My name is Jimmy Donaghy and I was a member of the viola section for the 2011-2012 and 2012-2013 seasons. I am currently on my gap year on a scholarship to Western Reserve Academy in Ohio, USA. As I write this I am watching the first snowfall of the year and marvelling at how just over three months ago I was in sunny Italy enjoying incredible Italian ice cream with my fellow orchestra members on tour.
The tour was an unforgettable end to my two-year tenure in the orchestra which was filled with many amazing moments. I’m very proud to have represented Northern Ireland on the national and international stages with our finale performance of the Finale from Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 4 at the Music For Youth School’s Proms and our mountaintop performance at Ravello festival in Italy; as well as having taken part in the making of Northern Irish history when the orchestra performed at the opening of the Titanic centre and performing in the history Ulster Hall a number of times, a stage which has hosted Ash, the Undertones and Stiff Little Fingers.
What has made the most significant and lasting impression on me during my time in the orchestra was the weekly Saturday-morning rehearsals. I remember when my older sister Liz was in the orchestra I was dazzled at their performances, but I now realise that the magic does not happen on the stage, but during the preparation for these concerts. Working with Paul McBride and the rest of the teaching staff was inspiring. What quickly became apparent soon after joining the orchestra was that music was much more than reading dots on a page and following the conductor. Each section has a line to be sung, and we learnt to listen to how our part fits and blends with the rest of the ensemble. This is a very difficult concept that everyone in the orchestra began to learn naturally.
Were it not for the orchestra I doubt I would have been granted my scholarship to this school, not because it has given me accomplishments to write on an application, but because I have learnt so much about teamwork and have developed a better work ethic as a result. Since coming here I have honoured Mr. McBride’s request at the end of tour to keep making music; I am in the viola section of the Academy Orchestra, I will be singing in the school’s performance of Handel’s Messiah and recently took part in the school’s production of Chess, and I hope to continue making as much music as I can!
Posted by robert.briscoe on the Tuesday, 19 November 2013