The Lincoln Youth Symphony from Lincoln, Nebraska toured Ireland, including Northern Ireland, March 3-10, 2016, where the group performed to warm, appreciative Irish audiences at St. Nicholas Collegiate Church in Galway, St. Anne's Cathedral in Belfast, and St. Joseph's Church in Glasthule just outside of Dublin.
Clark Potter, the director, recounted some experiences the group had on tour.
Our time inside Ireland and No. Ireland was absolutely terrific and stress-free. I don't believe I've had a more pleasant time on one of these trips. I was very pleased to not have to worry about tips. To have that taken care of in advance was so simple.
St. Nicholas Collegiate Church was a special place. The people there were very helpful and grateful. We had a good, warm crowd and they loved us. I loved playing there.
The concert at St. Anne's Cathedral was nice also. We had a small crowd in a large space, but it was a beautiful space. The folks there were very helpful and the audience very appreciative.
The concert at St. Joseph's Church was extraordinary. Big, warm crowd and appreciative. Heat in the sanctuary! Lots of tears in the audience and the orchestra. The audience hummed and sang along with Danny Boy, our encore. Very special time. The people there were truly helpful and fun to be with. The two priests were very kind, the three people who helped with preparations were terrific, and they had a reception for us afterward with sandwiches and cookies, etc. Really super. The shared the concert was with local musicians, who ended up being members of their church. It was a small choir and a fiddle player. They were good musicians and did a nice job.
Irwin [the tour manager] was spectacular. He sang, he was funny, he worked with me to make things work time-wise, and cared about the students (who loved him). He appreciated our work and how we behaved. One of the dads has been on three trips. He told me, "Irwin is the best of the three of them." I couldn't agree more. And all of the others were just fine! As an example, I heard that the Ulster Museum in Belfast had a Rembrandt exhibit. We were scheduled to see the Museum of Natural History in Dublin after driving there during the afternoon from Belfast. But Irwin worked with me to allow those who wanted to see the Rembrandt painting could do so and we moved the Natural History Museum in Dublin to the next day since seeing the Rembrandt meant we would arrive at Dublin too late to see it.
Our motorcoach driver was unbelievably fabulous. Fearless. Confident. Accommodating. Nice guy - he even gave us the Irish blessing on the last night.
Personal highlights: The Cliffs of Moher. Wow. The history of Belfast. Seeing the Rembrandt painting. The concert in Glasthule. All the food was terrific on this trip. All of it. Ireland is really beautiful. I had no idea. The sightseeing was fabulous. Gorgeous. I will never forget these sights.
This is our third tour with MCI. I'm not interested in switching companies if we go on another trip.
Clark Potter, Director
Lincoln Youth Symphony