When our school began in September 2015, we had only 40 students and only 20 of them played Orchestral instruments.  They were all ages and abilities, in fact some had only just started to play, but we started the orchestra regardless and carefully orchestrated the pieces to include everyone.  The orchestra was run by the teachers voluntarily and was free for any student who wished to participate in the locality from our own school and from other schools and teachers.

As the school grew, we had enough students to form 2 separate orchestras, junior and senior, but we always felt that the notion of combining all ages and abilities into one orchestra was a project worth pursuing. So, we began to pick out pieces and orchestrate them to suit what and who we had in the school regardless of age and ability! 

At this stage, we realised that the orchestra was taking on a life of its own and required a committee, more teacher involvement and an application for charity status, which we received last year)  The school continues to fund the insurance, rehearsal rooms, heating etc… but the purchase of instruments, photocopying, travelling to concerts and events all require funding.  We had grown so fast in such a short time and had so many other children and teens wishing to join. 

Getting both orchestras to play together was a mammoth task. It was a difficult process and the orchestral scores were huge!  Each piece would have up to 5/6 violin lines, 3 viola lines, 3 cello lines, 2 double bass lines etc…, to make the pieces accessible to everyone. The standard of the orchestra ranges from complete beginner to grade 7 and the age range of the orchestra is 4 to 18 , so, the pieces had to be complicated and easy all at the same time! 

Each orchestra practices their parts separately under different conductors and every few weeks…mayhem!!!  We rehearse together!  It is always a little rocky at the start but it is incredible how quickly it comes together. 

The benefits began to show straight away.  The older students became mentors for the younger kids in their sections.  They helped them set up, tune up, prompted them in rehearsals and encouraged them so much in their playing.  They began to demonstrate incredible maturity and they themselves became very invested in the younger players.

As for the younger players, they idolise the older kids and aspire to play like them.  They have learnt patience, (there are sections where they are not playing so just have to follow the music), their sight reading and rhythmic awareness has improved immeasurably, they have learnt to carefully watch the conductor so they know when to come in and fall out and most importantly, they have been exposed to classical music that is beyond their level and ability but of which they are part of.

We have been very careful and focused on balancing our orchestra in terms of instruments and as such we have a huge range of instruments in the orchestra.  We strongly believe in promoting uncommon instruments.  We achieve this by always encouraging students to think outside the box when it comes to choosing an instrument to play.  We hold many open days where our teachers demonstrate and speak about the instruments and this has worked wonderfully in getting children to take up trumpet, clarinet, trombone, viola and double bass. We also have an instrument rental scheme in place in the orchestra to make these instruments more accessible. 

For the most part, we operate 2 separate orchestras, the junior and the senior.  The orchestra has had wonderful opportunities since its inception including playing at the IAYO festival of youth orchestras on February 10th.  80 young people between the ages of 4 and 18 and between the levels of complete beginner and grade 7,  brandished violins, violas, cellos, double basses, trumpets, trombones, clarinets, bass clarinets, recorders, flutes and percussion, and took the National Concert Hall by storm!

Since our orchestra began we have had so many opportunities and achievements.  We have been very fortunate.  

In 2017, 2019 and 2020 we won the Feile Luimni Orchestra Competion

In March 2017, we took part in the Coole Music Festival in Galway.

In February 2018 we were the opening act in the Irish Youth Orchestra Festival at the National Concert Hall where we were presented with the Orchestra Achievement award for 2017.  

In November 2018, we played at the Art Gallery in Limerick as part of a wonderful Music Festival.

In May 2019 we played support for the University of Limerick Orchestra in Bruff.

In June 2019 we hosted and played with a wonderful Orchestra from Wisconsin. 

In October 2019 we hosted and played support for the Vanburgh. 

Then came covid….but we didn’t let that stop us. 

In June 2020, We produced a video! All the students worked from home but we had online practice sessions, and they each recorded their parts to Inspector Gadget.  This was then put together by Abby Ní Loinsigh into a wonderful fun video.  

In February 2021, we, along with other orchestras in the country took part in a very special online project.  In a marvellous piece, written by Vincent Kennedy, called Hope Springs Eternal, 400 musicians from all over Ireland recorded themselves playing it and it was compiled together and premiered in May at a wonderful event.  Of the 400 musicians…63 of them were from Musica Fusion!

In April, after a very successful fund raising campaign which included help from the local businesses, the JP Mc Manus Foundation and a fantastic gift from Enya, the orchestra were able to purchase Timpani, Bass Drum, Bass Clarinet and a host of other instruments that vastly improved our orchestra and the opportunities that the players had. It also allowed us to increase our numbers and include Piano players in our percussion section!

In May, our orchestra featured twice in the Orchestra online festival! 

In October 2021, The Vanburgh once again came to our school and we performed before they played.

Also in October, we were informed that we were runners up in the Orchestra Achievement awards for 2021 for our work with scholarships with our orchestra.  We were presented the award in Smock Alley by non other than the famous conductor, Eimear Noone!!

In November, we hosted the wonderful Carlow Youth Orchestra in a magical day of music and new friendships. We will be travelling to Carlow in 2022 and are looking forward to that!

We have a busy February 2022 with a visit from renowned conductor Robert Houlihan on the 18th and a visit from the Whistleblowers and the Crescendo Orchestra from Coole Music School on the 20th.

Our senior orchestra comprises of students from the age of 10 to 18.  The minimum orchestra standard is Grade 2 but the average grade of the orchestra is between 4 and 6.  

We have over 50 students in this orchestra from our own school and from other schools and teachers all over North Cork and South Limerick. You do not need to be a member of Musica Fusion School to join.  It is a community orchestra and once you meet the minimum standard, you are very welcome. 

We work hard every Friday and rehearse from 6 to 7 each week.  The members of the orchestra, even though they hail from different areas and schools are great friends.  The secondary school students have their own Whatsapp group and we have 2 student reps from this orchestra on our orchestra committee.  It is very much ‘their’ orchestra.  They have a say in the pieces we play, the events we take part in and the overall direction of the orchestra.  

Every year the orchestra is joined by students of other nationalities over here studying for the year and this is wonderful. New friendships is what it is all about! 

At the moment, we are working on pieces by Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich and Prokofiev but we do many fun, light pieces also. 

Our mini musicas are aged from 5 to 10 years old, up to grade one, but many of our minis are only beginning their musical journey.  We have 30 children in this orchestra from our own school and from other schools and areas also.  

Any student who plays an orchestral instrument is welcome to join us, regardless of standard! It is a wonderful beginner's orchestra where we all learn together, and fun is the name of the game.  

This term we are tackling Rossini, Vivaldi and a little bit of Beethoven just for a bit of variety!!! It is amazing watching these little guys improve each week and give it their all.  

They absolutely love orchestra and the friends they meet there.  Each week they rehearse from 5.20 – 6.00.  Members of our senior orchestra volunteer in this orchestra and help out in every orchestra section so the smaller children have plenty of support and a mentor to help them every step of the way.  

You would be amazed how good the sound! Follow our Musica Fusion Community Orchestra Facebook page to check them and the seniors out!! 


A voluntary contribution of €3 is payable (if you can afford it) at orchestra rehearsals.

All are welcome!!!