Ellen’s team creates online music bank

Donegal has a new online music library – thanks to the work of a small team of volunteers at the Donegal Music Education Partnership (DMEP).

The team, led by pianist and tutor Ellen Quinn, has catalogued more than 1500 musical items held at the DMEP office in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.

The new catalogue is available to the public online. If anyone spots a music book or piece they’re interested in, they can borrow it from the DMEP office.

The project has been going on for more than a year. Every Monday morning during school-time the volunteer team has been working on the catalogue – Ellen Quinn, Maureen Fryer-Kelsey from Ramelton and James Sarsteiner, now living in Derry.

The team has been getting professional advice from Marianne Lynch of Donegal County Council library services.

The DMEP online music library was launched at Café Davitt in Letterkenny.

Ellen Quinn and Maureen Fryer-Kelsey pictured at the launch of Donegal’s online music library at Cafe Davitt in Letterkenny.


Martin McGinley, DMEP manager said: “The DMEP has gradually amassed a considerable collection of music books and pieces over the past decade. This catalogue makes these works available to the public, and it creates a valuable music resource for the county.

“Ellen, Maureen and James deserve a lot of credit for their time and expertise – this is painstaking work and to do it you also need a good knowledge of music.

“We were also fortunate to have Marianne Lynch available for advice and encouragement.  She took a genuine interest in the project which was great.”

Ellen Quinn said the project turned out to be bigger than they thought.

“I don’t think we expected we’d be working at this for more than a year! Hopefully we’ve created something that will be useful to the music community in Donegal, from choirs to tutors to young people who want to explore music pieces.”

The Donegal Music Education Partnership is part of the Donegal Education and Training Board. Martin Gormley, director of schools with Donegal ETB, said the new online catalogue is a very worthwhile initiative.

“This project highlights the importance of volunteers in our music service and indeed in so many organisations throughout Donegal,” he said.

Well-known singer Triona Sweeney, who lives in Letterkenny, started off the library project during her time working with the DMEP.

“When the DMEP manager Angela McLaughlin was leaving on her career break, she suggested we do this catalogue while she was away. I’m delighted it has been completed.”

Those at the launch at Café Davitt included Traolach O’Fionnáin, arts officer with Donegal County Council, who’s a DMEP board member.

The DMEP is interested in hearing from anyone who would like to donate music scores, instruments or other musical items. Contact musiceducation@dmep.ie or phone 07491 76293.

The music library can be found at https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1eqlnGYPQQqk71ZL0bUFDhYh3A3xrMpo6I3_n8dOlOZs/edit?usp=sharing

Pics below –

(top pic) The Director of Schools at Donegal Education and Training Board, Dr Martin Gormley (centre), shares a joke with well-known photographer Declan Doherty (left) and Donegal Arts Officer Traolach Ó’Fionnáin in Cafe Davitt.

(bottom pic) Pictured at the launch of the Donegal online music library are Marianne Lynch of Donegal County Library, who helped with the project, and singer and choral conductor Triona Sweeney.