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The Francis McPeake School of Music

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 06, 2009 4:48 am    Post subject: The Francis McPeake School of Music Reply with quote

The McPeake family were one of the pioneer folk bands of the 1950s and 1960s but the story goes back to the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century when Francis learnt to play the pipes. He was taught by a blind piper named John Reilly, who came to Belfast from Galway at the request of Francis Joseph Biggar, a Presbyterian solicitor (and archaeologist) who had a deep interest in Irish culture including the music and song of the country. Biggar not only paid for Reilly to lodge with the McPeake family but also gave
him a weekly spending allowance and money to send to his family in Galway.

In 1977 a Redemptorist Priest, from Clonard Monastery, approached Francis McPeake II and III to arrange a six week programme, for the local community, in order to create an incentive for the youth of the area to develop an interest in music. As a result, the 'Francis McPeake School of Music' was established, and what was intended to be a six week holiday programme, has developed into an internationally renowned centre of excellence, now entering its 30th year thanks to the strong belief of the family who started the School ... ie that people from all backgrounds, all ages and across the north of Ireland's religious and political divide could be brought together by a love of Irish traditional music inspired and nurtured by them and the staff at their school.

We now come to the present day and sadly the School has lost its funding. In an effort to continue teaching young people a Campaign has been started which should help the School to stay open. The success of the Campaign depends upon the efforts of bands, businesses, individuals, local communities and lovers of Irish music no matter where they live ... in Ireland or further afield. There's no need for the School to close ... between us it can be saved for future generations.

The school has devised a great idea to raise funds. The Mystery Mosaic Campaign features a mosaic made up of 3000 tiles to be purchased by music fans, businesses and individuals. You can have your company or a personal logo on your tile too - or a tile will be created for them. The tile on the homepage can also link directly to your website. Once the mosaic is completed, the finished design will appear on the homepage of francismcpeake.com, a physical representation of the completed mosaic will have a civic unveiling in a public venue and ultimately it will feature on the new CD cover of the Francis McPeake School of Music.

Please spread the word and rally up support for the campaign to keep the Francis McPeake School of Traditional Music open. Unless it gets support it is going to close after students have been taught there since 1977. Spread the word to pre-order the School's new CD, make a donation of any size every penny counts or purchase a tile on its online mosaic. All this can be done online at www.francismcpeake.com.

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