Blackwater Valley Opera Festival bring concerts to care homes across Kerry


Following a successful first series of concerts in Waterford earlier this summer, Blackwater Valley Opera Festival and Mobile Music Machine take their Covid Care Concerts to residential care homes across Kerry this week.

Covid Care Concerts is a new project which brings classical music into the lives of the most vulnerable members of society and those most affected by the COVID19 pandemic. Funding from Creative Ireland Kerry will help to bring these eagerly anticipated concerts to residential care home settings in Listowel, Tralee, Kenmare and Killarney.

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival partner with the renowned classical music ensemble Mobile Music Machine to deliver these one-hour concert recitals at an appropriate social distance in the grounds of care homes. Residents and staff gather in outdoor areas or listen to the performance through open windows and doors and feedback from the first series of concerts has been overwhelming.

Blackwater Valley Opera Festival Director Eamonn Carroll says “as the general population emerges from lockdown it is worth remembering the long-term, isolated members of our society. Through our concerts, we hope to bring joy and build long-lasting friendships with the residents and staff of care homes throughout County Kerry. During our concerts in Waterford, many residents told us they were amazed that such high calibre musicians came to visit their care-home. We are indebted to Creative Ireland Kerry, Kerry County Council and the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht for supporting us in the development of this vital initiative in Kerry”.

The Mobile Music Machine is a leading national music education company, founded by acclaimed Irish cellist Gerald Peregrine. Gerald reports “one resident’s experience best sums up the project. Aged 92, she had been in bed for three weeks prior to our concert visit in June. Her carers persuaded her to get dressed and come outside. She had been a keen music lover her entire life and told us that she never expected to relive that part of her life again. The change in her mood was transformative and she said she can’t wait for the next concert!”

The Creative Ireland Programme is a Government initiative which places creativity at the centre of public policy. It is a culture-based programme designed to promote individual, community and national well-being. Through Creative Ireland’s Creativity in Older Age Programme, funding was allocated to bring the series of concerts to Kerry. Mayor of Kerry, Cllr Patrick Connor-Scarteen said ‘the remit of Creative Kerry is to support creativity in communities, and what better way to do this than to provide music and joy to our older communities during difficult times. Creative Kerry is delighted to be working with these wonderful musicians to bring high quality cultural activity to residents to care settings throughout the county”.

The Blackwater Valley Opera Festival, Ireland’s only summer opera festival, is a celebration of opera and classical music set in beautiful west Waterford. Tucked away in the breath-taking Blackwater Valley, we stage opera in Lismore Castle and a programme of recitals and concerts in some of the great houses of the region. The 2021 Festival will take place from 1st-7th June and will feature an opera double bill Gianni Schicchi by Puccini and Pagliacci by Leoncavallo.

For further information on Covid Care Concerts, please contact
Eamonn Carroll on 087 2865207.

Aras Mhuire Care Home, Listowel at 11.30am
Oaklands Nursing Home, Listowel at 2.30pm

Details of other concerts in Tralee, Killarney and Kenmare can be go by contacting the above number or email address.