The year 2016 has been remarkable in many ways; shocks and surprises abound in political, sporting and celebrity circles, both nationally and internationally.
But on a more local front, the year is of particular significance for those who are musically-minded as it marks the tenth anniversary of Jim Rafferty’s death.
And now to commemorate this important milestone another Donegal ‘music man’ is the driving force behind an initiative that aims to build on Jim’s legacy throughout the county. Dr Shaun Ryan, who is Subject Director at the Ulster University Music Department and who studied music under Jim’s tutelage, is establishing a new foundation that will seek to enhance further the music education opportunities for the youth of Co Donegal.
“The Jim Rafferty Foundation will seek to continue Jim’s work through the funding of a wide range of programmes and events”, he tells the Democrat.
Dr Ryan explained further: “we will take small steps at first but, over the next ten years, we will endeavour to raise significant funds that will be directed to enrich the musical experiences of the youth of our county.
“Jim’s work is still evident today, and this is just another way of making sure that his rich legacy continues to have an impact as we head into the next decade”.
The Foundation will work in partnership with the Donegal Music Education Partnership. Director of DMEP, Martin McGinley, says “this is an exciting development and great news for our young musicians”. The Rafferty family, too, are delighted and have offered their full support for the initiative. According to Jim’s son, Aidan “Shaun Ryan and I have been close friends going back many years and what he has planned makes for a wonderful way to keep Dad’s work going throughout the region; we’re all thrilled with the idea”.
The Jim Rafferty Foundation will be launched at a special commemorative concert to mark Jim’s tenth anniversary on Wednesday, 14 December at 7:30pm in St Conal’s Church, Glenties. The concert will feature the Ulster University Chamber Choir, conducted by Shaun Ryan, who earlier this year performed in Carnegie Hall, New York, with contributions from the Donegal Youth Choir and the Choir of St Conal’s Church. Admission is free with retiring collection. All proceeds go to The Jim Rafferty Foundation.