Music lovers wanted for Susan Steward Project

The Donegal Music Education Partnership is looking for volunteers with an interest in music to help catalogue a major music collection.

The collection of the late Susan Steward, a violin teacher from the Barnesmore area of Donegal Town, is held by Donegal County Council.

Work begins soon on the project. It will involve a three hour commitment from volunteers each Monday morning during school terms – 10am to 1pm at the DMEP offices in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny.

Executive librarian Marianne Lynch said she’s delighted that the DMEP are helping to let people know what’s in the collection through an online catalogue.

“This is an important collection from a well-known teacher who built it up over many years,” she said. “Hopefully it will be of interest in particular to string players in the county and beyond, and to the many young people across Donegal who are learning violin and other string instruments.”

The project will be led by Ellen Quinn, a piano teacher based in Letterkenny. Last year Ellen led the volunteer team which catalogued the collection of music held by the DMEP itself. That involved more than 1500 entries relating to musical works and music collections, which can be found at

Ellen said: “What we’re calling the Susan Steward Project is very worthwhile but it’s also daunting because of the sheer size of this collection. We’re going to need quite a team of volunteers and lots of tea and biscuits!”

The collection takes up several pallet-sized spaces in the Donegal County Library storage area in Letterkenny.

Aisling Grier of the DMEP said the plan is to have the team working on the project in the Regional Cultural Centre in Letterkenny from 11am to 1pm on Mondays during the school year.

“We had some very good volunteers involved in the DMEP project so we’re hopeful that some more will come forward for this one,” she said. “We’ve already had some people saying they’re interested.

“Ideally our volunteers should have a love of music and a little bit of familiarity with music books and scores. But we’ll have Ellen and others there who can help with the technical side so it’s really open to anyone who can use a laptop and has a bit of spare time.”

Anyone interested should contact Aisling at the DMEP, tel 07491 76293 or email

BELOW – Looking through some of the marvellous material that makes up the Susan Steward collection are, from left, Martin McGinley (DMEP manager), Ellen Quinn (who’s leading the Susan Steward Archive Project) and Aisling Grier (DMEP administrator).