On November 25th – 26th – 27th Mitchell Dance Platform as part of musical instrument design and manufacture Mitchell music will begin a new chapter and commence our Irish Dancer Scholarship programme.
This programme is something I (Lorcan Mitchell – Founder & CEO of Mitchell Music) have thought about for a number of years.
I will sponsor two $1,000 Scholarships to the winners of the Women’s U19 Men’s U19 and competitions at the Mid-Atlantic Region Oireachtas in Philadelphia.
Education is very important and something I value immensely. I am a carpenter by profession and physical work is something I get great pleasure out of. Creating something from nothing gives me joy that is hard to put into words.
Yet education and learning is something that outside of my physical job of designing and manufacturing musical instruments has opened up a world of knowledge for myself and about myself that I would not have access to otherwise.
When I am not working I am reading, writing, learning languages (I am currently learning Spanish, Portuguese, re learning Gaelic). Learning opens up a world of possibilities. It has helped me to connect with myself internally on a deeper level, getting to know and understand who I am and what I like to do while also connecting me with the world around me and seeing a world of hope, beauty and opportunities. Learning is fun. The more you learn the more you grow.
I love learning. I am a student of learning and a student of life. Education does not start or stop in the class room or the lecture hall. It is everywhere all the time.
I understand that not everybody has the same access to education and that is part of the reason I have started this programme.
On another level I understand the effort Irish Dancers put in. For all intensive purposes they are professional athletes without the financial reward. The dedication Irish dancers give to the art of dancing is incredible. Irish Dancing is a lifestyle not a hobby. They keep the art alive.
I played Gaelic games, both Hurling and Gaelic Football for over 20 years. I understand the sacrifices you have to make. In Irish dancing there are no seasons or breaks, it is all year round with national and international travel included. That is a huge commitment for the individual and their families.
When I got involved in Sponsoring Feiseanna earlier this year I was surprised to find out that there is no prize money for any of the winners of the competitions. I know these dancers are not dancing for the money, which is amazing. It is for the love of Irish dancing. None the less I do believe and the same goes for Gaelic games that excellence should be rewarded. Otherwise when people get to adulthood they have to choose. Especially now with the world we are living in getting more expensive I believe we all need to do our part to support the arts and these artists.
We need artists. We need more singers, musicians, dancers in this world. They have dedicated their lives to bring joy to others and I believe they should be properly rewarded for it.
Creativity is something that the world needs more of. We need to create a better world to live in. Without people who passionately dedicate their lives to being creative and being an artist then the world would be a terrible place to live.
I wish music, singing, dancing was available to everybody all over the world. That these subjects were taken more seriously and that the proper funding was allocated to these areas. I wish when I was in school that music and dancing was a subject you took daily classes in. That your creativity and individuality was encouraged and supported. Not something you had to discover on your own if you were lucky.
I was lucky. I play a little guitar and sing. I started when I was 12/13. I can tell you from experience that without music in my life I may not be here right now. It is only from looking back when I got older the huge role music played in helping me through depression, anxiety, loneliness, not fitting in and the horrible time being a teenager can be. Music helped me release all that pain and sadness and keep love in my heart.
Now I want to give back and share that. I want to use this Scholarship Programme as a stepping stop to reward those who have dedicated their lives to become the best versions of themselves.
This is only the start. I want to build a community of Artist’s – People – Businesses – Organisations – Governments – Communities who support the arts and artists.
I want music and dancing to be part of the school curriculum.
A documentary I watched from Cuba and music as part of their school curriculum, a 5 year old student was asked ‘Why do you like music class?’
His answer ‘because everybody loves music’
It took a little person of 5 years old to say something with so few words yet straight to the point.
The answer is the same with dancing. We stop dancing not because we do not love to dance, we stop dancing because we forget that we love to dance.
I believe it is time to remember again. We all love music and dancing. It makes us feel good and connects us. We all have a song we all have a story, we all have a step.
We all have a part to play. Creating my musical instruments is one part, this Scholarship programme is another.
This Scholarship Programme will reward $1,000 each to the winners of the U19 Female and U19 Male competitions. The winners will be presented with a check for $1,000 that will go toward their education. The reason I picked this age group was because these young adults are beginning their education journey and need all the support and assistance they can get.
I hope this contribution goes a little way to help these amazing artist and athlete’s continue exceling within Irish Dancing and outside it.
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