Thank you from Rod Alston, Artistic Director

to all who were in any way involved in the 22nd Sligo Festival of Baroque Music:

Immediately after the final concert of this year’s festival, where Camerata Bachiensis had most wonderfully performed some great music, I could not bring myself to spoil the moment with a long thank-you speech. 

But probably more than any occasion I have been associated with, the Festival this year is indebted to many institutions, businesses and a very large number of individuals whose support was absolutely essential in making this event happen. I had intended to acknowledge our indebtedness, and thank those who had so generously contributed when we gathered in Atrium at the end of the final concert of the festival as in other years; However, as funding did not allow for a closing wine reception, most of the audience dispersed the moment had passed. 

The 22nd Sligo Festival of Barque Music has been I think a great success on almost all counts: most importantly there was some very exciting, very impressive performance of music, including composers and pieces rarely performed; audience numbers must be significantly up on previous years; that performers and audience alike felt comfortable and had really valued the musical experience was evident in all conversations I had over the weekend. Due to added generosity of sponsors and increased audience numbers, we have managed to balance the books which seemed almost impossible a couple of months back, when we realised that we had a €10,000 hole in our budget.

So, firstly, I gratefully acknowledge the financial support Festival received from Sligo County Council, The German Embassy, Foras Eireann, Clayton Hotels, IMRO. Mayo Sligo Leitrim ETB, Music Generation, Mullaneys Solicitors, The Model, Ward’s Pharmacy and Con Brio, as well as the large number of individuals. I hope that they all gain some pleasure from being part responsible for such a successful weekend.

We are very dependent on staff at the Model and the staff in the café for the smooth running of the weekend, and their good humoured helpfulness has been much appreciate; Patrick completely devoted himself, his time over the weekend in ensuring that all practical problems were overcome, way beyond the call of duty – a very big thank you. 

Members of Sligo Baroque Orchestra also should be mentioned, not only for their part performing and some members of sbo facilitating the schools’ event on Friday lunchtime, but they also assisted with the festival in other ways, including twice busking in Quayside Shopping Centre to promote the event.

There are many individuals who have assisted in all sorts of ways. That I do not try mention them all does not mean that any assistance was not valued, but I should make particular mention of John Flanagan who looks after the website, Margrit Fahy who, no longer a committee member, still continues to take on endless jobs, and Luisa, Nicola, Paddy and Barbara and Mary for hospitality.

Perhaps the most crucial ingredients in the Festival are the performers, and for their music and the agreeable manner in which they participated deserve more than thanks. I hope it is not invidious for me to mention particularly members of Camerata Bachiensis and Reiko Ichise and Sarah Groser whose immense musicality and generosity and lightness of spirit came to characterise the weekend. Also thanks to Nicola whose various contributions must have seemed to be pulling her apart, and to Colin Booth whose presence also permeated the whole weekend in mostly subtler ways.  

An appreciative audience is of course crucial and this we have, thankfully, in growing numbers. 

Lastly, but as they say, by no means least, most public acknowledgement should be made of the group of people who actually do all the work that is involved in making a wonderful weekend of great music-making happen: the Committee.

John Fahy, Mary Bell, Lizzie Kinsella, John Coleman, Imelda Harte and Steve Wickham throughout the year voluntarily give very freely of their time and their prodigious talents.

The combination of a great deal of hard work and imaginative flair produces the festival. There is no member of the committee who just goes to meetings or who doesn’t play a fully active part. That such a great festival weekend has happened despite the devastation of discovering that there was no Arts Council funding is a tribute to their character and work.

Of the future, who knows? There is clearly an appetite for the festival to continue, and it would appear that some things about it must be more or less right for it to have continued for twenty two years.


My thanks to all,