Last year we wanted to give a member of the local community, Betty Moloney, an award to recognize and acknowledge her contribution to the arts in Midleton.
We intend to carry on this tradition in festivals to come, as the Footprint Award.
This year’s recipient will be announced at the official festival opening on Friday the 12th of May in the gallery above Sage Restaurant. Below is a transcript of the speech given by Ilse de Ziah which tells a little of Betty’s story in Midleton.
“It’s Betty Moloney’s 80th Birthday today and still a vibrant contributor to the Arts in Midleton.
When I discovered her birthday coincided with the Mid May Arts Festival I thought about the huge contribution Betty has made to the Arts in Midleton and thought it would be wonderful to acknowledge the musical footprints she has made all over the town and in East Cork.
In 1947 she moved to Midelton from Cork. She was playing piano from an early age and the nuns noticed her great talent and encouraged her to play with others so that by the time she was 12 she was accompanying local Midleton singers John Martyn and Michael Moloney, and by 14 she was playing pipe organ at St Mary’s Church, and at 16 appointed official organist there. She still plays for services there and plays organ every Sunday in Balintosis church.
Through the years she has made so many contributions and encouraged hundreds of pupils, many of whom have gone on to be successful musicians.
She founded the Midelton Arts and Music Academy which had teachers of violin, speech, singing, piano, cello and more and ran concerts with pupils past and present including her “Summer Serenade” concerts every year.
She founded the highly successful Midleton Feile (Feile an tSamhraidh) which was held last weekend, attracting over 100 singers and instrumentalists from around Cork, plus over 20 school groups, choirs and bands, and four adult choirs. And all helped out by excellent pianos supplied by her son Peter Moloney, Moloney Pianos and renowned adjudicators from around Ireland.
Her work towards creating a Midleton Theatre did not happen, but the funds she raised were donated to My Place which is now an integral part of the festival and an important place for young people in Midleton.
All this work happened with the help of people, who inspired by Betty, are happy and willing to get on board and give their time generously.
Her footprints have marked these streets and the lives of many and her encouragement, vibrant energy, and sense of humour and fun has been an inspiration.
Betty, I would like to present you with a sculpture made by Belinda Walsh recognizing and acknowledging your contribution to the arts in Midleton. This mark you have made is symbolised by a foot with a tendril growing up and out representing your vibrancy, input and encouragement to the community.
Thank you for your work and love of the local people and of Arts in Midleton.”