Solstice Anthem for Ashbourne

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If there was ever a year when the Solstice idea of ’embracing the New Dawn’ carried palpable meaning, surely it is this year. As the prospects of defeating the common enemy seem more credible, it is tempting to be optimistic on many fronts, Health, Social, even Economic and Political. But perhaps the principal benefits from the pandemic experience have been around a renewed focus on matters local?

The new rendition of Ashbourne’s Anthem is an example of this community solidarity that has emerged as a strengthened force during this testing year. The Anthem had its premiere in September 2019 to mark the visit from Australia of Juanita Carroll, the Great-Great Granddaughter of Frederick Bourne, the Towns Founder. It was composed by Ashborean Siubhan Ní Gríofa, with lyrics by Siubhan, Ian Jenkinson, Giovanna and Ephraim Feeley. The new rendering is the brainchild of Giovanna Feeley and her newly formed Choral group, Ashbourne Singing. In November Giovanna invited the Citizens of Ashbourne, old and young, to submit a video of their vocal or instrumental interpretation of the Anthem. The response was beyond expectations, with submissions from as far away as South Bend, Indiana; more than forty individuals and six classes from Ashourne’s schools sent in their videos. The challenge of turning this cornucopia of creativity into a coherent performance then fell to Shane Barriscale, who rose to the task with the facility of the True Master. The result is a joy for all to relish, a new dawn wherein we rediscover local strengths, it’s a veritable beacon of Community Spirit. Well done Giovanna for leading this initiative and to all who helped deliver it.

The initial program for ASH2020 had featured an end-of-year concert, closing off a year of events and celebrations marking the Towns bicentenary, 42 events in all. The old adage ‘if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans’ springs to mind; in the heel of the hunt, we managed just twelve projects, all excellently delivered and including some that will have a lasting effect on the Town. So, the Solstice Song for Ashbourne, bringing together 42 citizens as well as 160 schoolchildren from six classrooms represents the symbolic concert that must await another year. Giovanna, thanking all who contributed, said ‘It was great to have such a good response to the project: a lovely end to the year, and gives great hope for the future.’ Liam Mulvihill, Chair of the ASH2020 Board said: ‘This proves yet again that great trials prompt, first, endurance, then creativity, and out of that comes new experiences and greater all-round wellbeing’.



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