“IN THAT MOMENT WHEN THERE IS MUSIC-
THERE IS ONLY MUSIC.”
Lead Vocalist in Smokin' Sol
and Down The Whisker Band
Violin Teacher at Kenmare Performing Arts
Children’s Drama Director at Theatre Games Ireland
April began participating in the arts as a young child. Remembering becoming addicted to music at her first solo vocal performance of Frank Sinatra’s “New York New York” at the age of 8 years old. Throughout her schooling years she sang, played violin and participated in theatre. She always felt a tight connection with the arts. “I was very fortunate to be able to connect with some fantastic teachers/Mentors along the way. My music teacher in elementary school, Mrs. Miller gave me the confidence to get up on this big stage by myself and sing for an entire auditorium of people. Then throughout the next several
years my violin teacher, Mark Bettcher really had a serious passion to teach and play music with me. He really was a true inspiration to me and all the children involved. Many of us play still today, guaranteed as a result of his mentoring. I always loved to sing. I always loved music. It wasn’t until high school, when I really started learning about all the different types of music and the different things I could do with my voice. Under the direction of Mark Rowher, another amazing teacher and mentor to all. I completely fell in love with both music and performing. I had been introduced to jazz and blues and many different genres of classical music, and I had finally reached the point in my life then where I didn’t want to do anything else but sing. I was perfectly happy sitting in the practice room or my own room for hours and hours, singing. At that point there was nothing else, only music.”
April continued with music education and continued to perform in different venues both with music and theatre. Then life happened.
The moment where something more important than music came along. Her three daughters were born. So for years she worked in the “corporate” world, only really coming back into the arts back in 2014. “I was invited to help out backstage at the Small Roads Festival, directed by Dezy Walls and was immediately inspired to jump in with both feet. I decided what I really wanted to do was use my passion to do for kids, what my teachers/mentors had done for me. Build confidence in children and help them excel in the arts. So with the trust and confidence of Claire Bunbury at Carnegie Arts Centre I started my children’s theatre, which has now grown into Kenmare Performing Arts. You may have seen our last performance of “Annie” the spring of 2019. Through this venture I have met a lot of very talented people passionate about the arts. My current music teacher, Frederiek Biesma has me playing violin again with the Kenmare Community Orchestra and updating all my music theory for my own
teaching. She has become my newest mentor and another huge piece of my heart and family. I was approached by another musician in the orchestra the other year to join a band. I was hesitant at first as it had been a little while since I really had performed. But I said, lets give it a try. We were a full working band, Down The Whisker, which then led me to also sing in our duo, Smokin' Sol, with Martin. I am once again buried in sheets of music and listening to new music everyday. I never stop. My house is a mess, but do I have a damn good set-list!”
April is playing frequently both in South Kerry and West Cork. She is working on some music projects with her guitarist, Martin Hedges, who also writes music and they plan on doing some serious recording over the winter months. She will start back up in September with directing the children’s theatre and will be directing and performing again in this year’s Small Roads Theatre Festival coming this September/October.
“Another big year ahead. I am never not busy but I cannot complain. I love everything I am doing. My work isn’t work. Well not in the same sense as your typical 9-5 anyway. I do appreciate the experience I got in the corporate world though. It taught me to multitask. It taught me time management. It taught me to hustle. It taught me to be organized. It taught me how to communicate with all different types of people. No matter what you choose to do, there is always work involved. In fact I put in way more hours these days than I put into the corporate world of 50-60 hour weeks, and then some! But, I can say, I love every second of what I do now. Nothing beats the feeling I get performing for a crowd of people. And nothing beats the smile and excitement on a child’s face after they have just finished performing for the crowd. I should mention one last thing. I couldn’t have done this without the amazing support my husband and children have given me throughout these ventures. I am again so fortunate to have them and so many other wonderful encouraging and supportive people in my family and community.”