I ndiaidh tréimhse a chaitheamh ag obair mar mhúinteoir bunaíodh Blue Ribbon Arts sa téarma deireanach de 1997, i gcuimne ar Nicki Taylor, a bhí ina dalta sa gcúigiú rang i SN Lurgybrack agus chun cuidiú le páistí an ranga dul i ngleic le mothúcháin a bhí acu tar éis an timpiste thrágóideach. Chuir muid ceist ar dheirfiúr Nicki caide’n dóigh is fearr le comóradh a dhéanamh ar shaol s’aici – mar gheall ar an suim a bhí aici i gcúrsaí ceoil agus dramaíochta, shocraigh muid grúpa ealaíne a bhunú.
Tá muid ag tarraingt anois ar an 25ú comóradh de na heachtraí sin, beidh seans againn turas a dhéanamh ar bhóthar na smaointe agus amharc siar ar na léirithe a rinne muid le chéile. Cé gur ghlac Blue Ribbon Arts agus Wild Atlantic Wains ról nua agus treo iomlán nua ar líne ó bhuail an géarchéim Covid muid, is ábhar mórtais dúinn go bhfuil na ranganna ar obair go fóill agus go maireann spiorad Nicki fríd saothar Blue Ribbon ó ghlúin go glúin.
Having worked as a young teacher with Loreto Convent Musicals, Rainbow, No Name Club and Letterkenny Pantomime choreography, Blue Ribbon Arts was established in the last term of 1997, in honour of Nicki Taylor, who was a treasured fifth class pupil of mine in Lurgybrack NS and her surviving twin Kerry, carrying on the legacy of the twins’ talent, commitment and joy of life as Kerry and her classmates pulled together through music, drama and dance, putting back the chairs and tables to create space after school. Three weeks later we had moved to Cheshire Apartments, and after the Summer, began classes in the Concert Hall, Loreto Convent, adding Loreto Milford to the equation before settling into Trinity Hall, Letterkenny and Mulroy College, Milford for the best part of 13 years until Covid 19 closed all doors on March 12th 2020.
Although since then, Blue Ribbon Arts and Wild Atlantic Wains took on new roles and a whole new online direction, I have so much to be grateful for as we approach our 25th anniversary next year, 2022, taking the opportunity to look back over all the shows, the musicals, the festivals, the camps, the cabarets, the TV appearances, the dances, local, national and even international road trips, the costumes, the expectations, the dreams and undiluted drama undertaken by Blue Ribbon Arts from the Mini-Pops to the BluCru and everything in between. A quarter of a century of friendships formed, teamwork rewarded, children growing up…. and plentiful opportunities for me to develop and grow my own brand of inclusion, facilitation and creativity in many different ways, new experiences, from the high glitz events to the nursing home Christmases, from cd and dvd productions in studios across the county to live performances, from Global Education Festival, San Remo to the Mary from Dungloe, from the Grianan to the Helix, it’s all been a revelation and a memorable trip down Nostalgia Lane…. and what memories!
One of my highlights was during the Finale night of a production of ‘Thank you for the Music’ in Loreto Milford, where I was invited to choreograph and work with some of the young actors in roles, one of the chorus girls in the wings turned to me and in the darkness whispered that she ‘didn’t feel she had as good a childhood as everyone else in the place seemed to have grown up with Blue Ribbon at some point in their lives!’ What a lovely compliment to the childhoods I was blessed with over the last two and half decades.
Thank you for the music !