Maghery Band get ready for their whirlwind tour of the US

first_imgFour times All-Ireland champions, the Senior Competitive Maghery Band embark on their East Coast USA Tour on Wednesday 13th March.Following their international champion and All Ireland success, the Maghery Band have received numerous invites to perform globally.The band who recently rebranded as Maghery Band Academy train youth and adults in traditional Irish music, classical and contemporary music, drumming and performance art in the form of drill, marching & Drum major roles. The academy does so with the use of the Irish language and are passionate about representing their Irish heritage and culture, hence the extent of their Performance tour this March.In January 2018 the band’s committee revealed their performance tour to members and since May 2018 have been avidly fundraising to assist subsidising the members to undertake the performance tour itself.All members of the academy work voluntarily to train, organise and perform. Their registration fees and the likes assist in just some of the maintenance of the academy but do not cover all annual expenses which sees them perform locally, nationally and compete in All Ireland and International Competitions.When receiving invitations from overseas the members are primarily faced with incurring these charges themselves and so the academy try their best to assist in subsidising these costs.Primarily youth based, members in the academy range from national school, to second and third level students and this performance experience will be a cultural experience that will expand their performance horizons. ‘We are most thankful to all the locals, local businesses and local councillors etc who have supported us and our local fundraisers in the past 10months. The tour has cost approx €101,000 to undertake of which the members have paid 50%. The remaining 50% was raised through several channels. Like all community groups local fundraisers were organised showcasing events such as Variety Shows, Fashions Shows, Table Quizzes and the likes.“A gofundme page was established for international supporters to contribute and business and personal donations were contributed also.’Due to the lack of funding available for undertaking such performance tours and maintenance of their academy Band chairperson and Drill Instructor Annemarie O’Donnell, who as a professional is a Masters Graphic Designer developed a sponsorship package and book called ‘Band With Us’ which like their local fundraisers, which had entertainment and services provided to give back to the community, offers branding and advertising opportunities for businesses in return of their support.‘We are delighted to be associated with McCafferty’s Bar & Bayview restaurant in Letterkenny, Donegal Town & Dungloe. Owner Declan Boyle has been supporting the band in the run up to our Tour and will continue this relationship post tour for to assist the academy’s development.’ McCaffertys Bar are based in Letterkenny & Donegal Town. Both are traditional bars and host live music and sports 7 nights a week. Bayview Restaurant is based in Dungloe.Second sponsor and to the East Coast USA Tour is Clipfine Construction. Clipfine is owned by Ardara native Tommy McCarron who is currently working on the renovations of Big Ben in London. The benefit of supporting an education in the arts helps students to improve literacy, mathematics and cognitive development. It also helps young people develop cultural literacy and personal skills, from collaboration through to perseverance, which are critical to the modern workplace. Your contribution to today’s band students ensures a stronger economy for the future.There have been many more contributors and sponsors who although are not receiving branded recognition will be recognised in a book due for publication in late 2019/2020. The book which is in part published for their sponsorship proposal will be based on Annemarie’s ‘Band With Us’ proposal which documents the band’s history, dreams, successes and support received in the build up to this momentous year.A special thanks has to be given to Leas-Cheann Comhairle & TD Pat the Cope Gallagher, his office and Current running councillor Noreen McGarvey. Both Pat & running councillor Noreen have been great advocates for the Band and see the potential that this tour has not only for it’s participants but for the community as a whole, our county and country who are being represented on the world stage.The academy gives so much to the community in terms or training, development in individuals and in general a great education and work ethos. The commitment and dedication that our academy members have given consistently in the past 9years have been outstanding and is proof that hard work can be rewarded. The East Coast USA tour will introduce those values to the world stage. It is an honour to be recognised worldwide and the professional performance tour will only further that reach and increase interest in the culturally curious target audience which is at its best very powerful in the USA. The band hope to receive groups and bands from their global visits in the near future, once more drawing people to their hometown and community.Maghery Band have been most successful in bridging relationships and breaking moulds on international platforms. Their 3times Youth Band International Champion Status introduced them to competing on the international stage where they competed against as many as 18 other bands from across Europe & USA. Representing their county and country has been a great foundation as they engaged with performers on Irish Soil.In November 2018 the Maghery Band competed in Northern Ireland obtaining their first win and entertainment recognition in Northern Ireland which found them scouted by Europe’s famous Tattoo show organisers. As a result the band were invited to headline at Liverpool Tattoo in September 2019. Another exciting venture for the professional performers!Maghery Band’s East Coast USA Tour will commence on Wed 13th March visiting New York, New Jersey & Florida.In New York the band will perform across three days on the iconic Times Square, on Liberty Island, at Ellis Island Memorial Wall & on 5th Avenue in NYC’s St.Patricks Day parade, to name but a few.The band are honoured to be leading the NYC Donegal Association and will be parading from 11:35am on Sat 16th March with televised coverage by NBC.The band will then be travelling to Bayonne, New Jersey where they will be parading in their St. Patrick’s Day Parade and performing in their post celebration party on Sun 17th March.The band were honoured to be invited to Boston, Brooklyn & Newark parades but due to their busy performance schedule were unable to commit to these on this occasion!Following their New Jersey visit the band will then be travelling to Orlando Florida where they will perform and parade in International Drive, Universal Studios & Magic Kingdom, Disney World.“The performance schedule for the members will be intense as we intend to maximise our worldwide coverage and publicise our origins of Maghery, Dungloe, Co.Donegal and Ireland. Across the two weeks of performing the members have just 4days of free downtime to ensure they can maintain the busy schedule. This is very much a working tour. It’s intense schedule will pave way for members to enjoy the working schedule which will broaden individuals horizons. The opportunity professionally for the academy and personally for the individuals will be immense!The organisation of the tour would not have been possible without the Band’s successful Committee. Chairperson, Drill & Drum Major Instructor & PRO: Annemarie O’Donnell, Co-Chair; Annette Boyle, Head Treasurer: Yvonne Houston, Co Treasurers: Karen Hunter & Hannah Glackin, Head Secretary & Drumming Instructor; Anthony Houston, Co Secretary and Music Instructor: Karl Doherty, General committee members; Martina Diver & Jamie Glackin & Gaeltacht & funding representative; Anthony O’Donnell.Chairperson Annemarie commends the committee for their hard work over the past year with the organising, fundraising and implementation of the tour. They look forward now to seeing through their plans and hope that their travels will be safe and enjoyable.Support continues to be invited for the Academy pre and post tour and anyone wishing to contribute can do so via gofundme for either the East Coast USA Tour or for the Academy there after.You can check out their Facebook page @magherybandThe band will on Sun 10th March be attending Meenacross Mass so as to fulfil their annual tradition in advance of their tour departure.At this 10:30am mass they will be blessed and will then parade Maghery Village at approx 11:45am, they will then travel to parade on Dungloe Main Street at approx 12:30pm before playing at Dungloe Community Hospital.Their Junior and Senior ‘Old’ Band will fulfill their annual commitment on St Patricks Day as normal.Maghery Band get ready for their whirlwind tour of the US was last modified: March 9th, 2019 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:donegalMaghery BandtourUSlast_img read more

Nature Can’t Wait for Darwin Day

first_imgDarwin Day (Feb. 12, 2009) is months away, but Nature devoted a special issue to it this week. The cover story, Darwin 200, includes 15 articles and features, some of which are available to the public. Features include a list of celebrations and exhibitions around the world, including a re-enactment of Darwin’s voyage on a “modernized replica” of the HMS Beagle. The voyage will be a floating field trip beamed to classrooms worldwide. The lead Editorial, “Beyond the Origin,” contained the expected creation-bashing and touting of Darwin’s theory as the greatest idea in history, but it ended with a curious theme: synthetic biology will allow the origin of life by intelligent design, though Darwin’s law of natural selection will continue to rule biology. By the time the 200th birthday of On the Origin of Species is celebrated, the life under study by science may well no longer be united by common ancestry in the way that all life is today. In that sense, Darwin’s view of the world will have been superseded. But whether that life exists around another star or in a bioreactor, it will still evolve, if given leave to, according to the simple and awe-inspiring algorithms of natural selection. The essay of Dobzhansky’s quoted earlier bears the now-famous title “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution”. That is so close to being an analytical truth – a necessary implication of what life itself is – that we can be certain it will continue to be true into the future. But that certainty in no way limits the diversity and sheer wonder of what we will find on the voyage that Darwin began.The celebratory euphoria in this editorial was quenched somewhat by another article in the special issue by Janet Browne, historian at Harvard and authority on Darwin. Although calling Darwin’s theory a “magnificent achievement” offering “remarkable explanatory power for 150 years,” she found some dirty laundry in the political history of Darwinism.1 Noting that “it is worth remembering that scientific anniversaries also provide an opportunity to push an agenda, and even to adapt the past, so telling us what we like best to hear,” Browne revisited prior Darwin celebrations in 1882, 1909 and 1959 to see what happened then. She found an interesting phenomenon: Darwin celebrations tended to be agenda-driven attempts to shore up a theory in crisis:1882: When Darwin died, his supporters used his “funeral as propaganda.” Concerned at the time over criticisms that Darwin’s views were hostile to religion, Thomas Huxley and crew hastened to get him buried in Westminster Abbey. Why?The funeral service and many obituaries stressed that Darwin was not an atheist. He was instead described as a good man, committed to truth and honesty. This was true, but it was also valuable propaganda at a time when relations between science and religion were intensely fraught. The men of the Royal Society used Darwin’s funeral as a way to reassure their contemporaries that science was not a threat to moral values, but rather was becoming increasingly important in the modern world.1909: The 50th anniversary of the Origin found Darwin’s theory in decline. New views on genetics, fossils and orthogenesis were undermining his views on gradual change, implying instead a goal-directed path of descent and even teleology. “The 1909 commemorations, organized by a small group of naturalists and Darwin family members from the University of Cambridge, provided a way to reassert the primacy of natural selection against other evolutionary rivals,” Browne said.1959: The bombastic Darwin Centennial hosted by the University of Chicago in 1959 was another attempt to whitewash Darwin, Browne argued. This Darwin anniversary was held at the University of Chicago in Illinois, in a symposium that pointedly celebrated the integration of genetics and population statistics with selection theory. Ten years earlier, this integration had almost taken the form of a political treaty. Putting it bluntly, field naturalists were eager to re-establish their value in an increasingly laboratory-based world. Prominent naturalists such as Ernst Mayr managed to get geneticists and statisticians to agree that evolution could take place on three levels: in molecules; in the flow of genes through populations; and in the environmental world of organisms undergoing competition and natural selection. In 1942, Julian Huxley invented the phrase ‘modern synthesis’ to combine genetics with natural selection, and Mayr’s key work within this synthesis, Systematics and the Origin of Species from the Viewpoint of a Zoologist (Columbia Univ. Press), was published.In addition, the Darwinites “in effect created modern Darwinism by emphatically rejecting any form of Lamarckism” in the context of the cold war:In 1959, socialist Russia had only recently withdrawn from Lamarckism in genetics, and the idea was strongly associated in US minds with the cold-war struggle. The delegates also rejected the idea that the fossil record shows signs of directed evolution, and expanded Darwinian thought to cover the evolution of mind and behaviour. During the conference, Julian Huxley, the grandson of Thomas Henry Huxley, gave a secular sermon in the style of his grandfather, and provocatively declared that religious belief was merely a biological feature of evolving mankind.This was about the same time, contrary to many people’s impressions, that the Darwin Finch story became a prop for evolutionary theory. Mayr and Huxley had encouraged David Lack to spend time in the Galapagos observing the finches. “It was only after this … that the finches sketched by Darwin became collectively known as Darwin’s finches, and were held up as the first and most remarkable evidence of evolution in real organisms in a natural setting.”So instead of being spontaneous occasions to appreciate a universally-accepted hero of science, previous Darwin celebrations, Browne argued, were political ploys by advocates with an agenda. The question becomes, will history repeat itself in 2009?But biologists will also surely use the occasion, once again, to affirm the truth and elegance of Darwinism in the face of criticism, this time from those who prefer a creationist view of the world. Evolution by natural selection has suddenly become a highly contentious idea, especially in the United States. Creationist proponents abound in the US school-board system, opinion polls highlight the public’s belief in a divine origin for humankind, and ideas about intelligent design are widely circulated. Against this, Darwin has become the figurehead for rational, secular science, and Darwinism the main target of the fundamentalist movement spreading across the globe. Attacks extend beyond arguments over the Bible. To criticize Darwinism is a forceful way to express anxieties about the growing power of modern science and the perceived decline of moral values in society. To try to poke holes in Darwin’s argument is to express dislike not just for evolutionary theory but also for science itself. There is some irony in this situation. Looking back to Darwin’s funeral in 1882, Darwin’s Christian qualities, his stature as a man of truth and honesty, were brought to the fore. He was celebrated as a man whose religious doubts were an integral part of his wisdom and insight; few critics made personal attacks on his social virtues. Now, his heroism in modern science is seen by many as an offence to religious values. It goes to show just how diversely Darwin and his theory have been perceived and used over the years. Browne, author also of the award-winning biography Charles Darwin: The Power of Place (Princeton, 2002),2 quipped in conclusion, “Darwin himself would surely be amazed by how differently we have chosen to celebrate his anniversaries.”1. Janet Browne, “Birthdays to remember,” Nature 456, 324-325 (20 November 2008) | doi:10.1038/456324a. This article requires a subscription.2. Search on the keywords “Janet Browne” for quotations from this outstanding book in previous entries.shed the light all around.(Visited 14 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

Paley’s Watch Found

first_img(Visited 679 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 There actually is a clock in the heath, and it’s in our bodies, too.What is a watch? It’s an instance of a clock. William Paley famously presented his famous “watchmaker argument” in Natural Theology in 1802, a book that influenced Darwin. Paley asked what one could deduce if he ran across a watch lying upon the ground in a heath. With cogent analysis, he anticipated the arguments of Michael Behe (Darwin’s Black Box) about irreducible complexity and arguments about functional wholes of Douglas Axe (Undeniable). Whether or not Paley took his argument too far, his “watchmaker argument” can stand on its own as a logical argument for intelligent design.Since a watch is a clock, but not all clocks are watches, we need to be sure that other instances of clocks support Paley’s argument. One might dispute Paley by saying the daily rotation of the earth is a ‘clock’ of sorts that is not irreducibly complex. The point of the argument is that a designed clock has a point. It’s organized in a way to tell time for a purpose. The earth’s diurnal cycle is oblivious to beings that might use it to tell time, but a watch was made for the purpose of monitoring the passage of time for human use. The Greeks had a water clock. Early medieval people had the hourglass. Christian Huygens invented the pendulum clock. As science progressed, clocks utilizing springs and gears, then quartz vibrations, and then atomic frequencies refined timekeeping to astonishing levels of accuracy. Timekeeping devices are so accurate now that scientists routinely have to consider adding a “leap second” every few years to keep instruments in sync with astronomical phenomena, and GPS satellites have to take very tiny relativistic effects into account.Critics of Paley might say that the early timekeeping devices, like the hourglass, are not irreducibly complex (IC), because any similar repetitive process in nature could be used by a person to infer time, even if it doesn’t happen for the purpose of providing timekeeping information to humans. Examples might be tides, the rising and falling of the Nile, or a regular geyser’s eruption. At some point, human clock devices certainly became IC, because nobody would assume nature could produce a modern atomic clock.One telltale sign of an IC clock mechanism would be if it contained switches that perform a function. Most of us have seen the mechanical trippers on certain clocks that flip lights on and off. Alarm clocks that turn on a buzzer or radio station are more examples. These days, the clocks in our smartphones can switch on all kinds of applications, and the “internet of things” is beginning to link whatever function one might desire to the passage of time, so that you can even reset your home lights in New York remotely from a Paris cafe. Hourglasses lacked these additional functions. Whenever we see a clock that can switch on another function that is independently useful, we’re getting close to IC. If it can switch on numerous functions, and simultaneously respond to external inputs to keep those functions regulated within tight constraints, then the case for IC becomes very convincing. If Paley’s 1805-era watch was IC, how much more would such a time-based, adapting, switching master regulator be?The Circadian ClockNow we are ready to announce the existence of such a clock: the circadian clock in all living things. Science Magazine published a collection of papers on biological clocks recently. In a leading Perspective article, Millius and Ueda discussed why organisms need circadian mechanisms, and how new knowledge is being gained about them:An internal biological rhythm, the circadian clock—which can be measured by changes in rhythmic gene expression, cellular activity, or physiological behavior—enables an organism to anticipate daily cyclic changes in the environment.Credit: Illustra MediaWe see in this quote that the clock mechanism comes from genes, which are sequences of information – not mere rhythms of natural objects subject to laws of nature (like the tides). We see also that these genes switch on functions such as cellular activity or behavior that are important for the organism. The genes can adjust to external inputs, such as sunlight, as when we adjust to jet lag. The functions that the circadian clock switch on are numerous, the article goes on to say. Effects occur at all scales, too, from the individual protein and organ to the whole organism. Even more interesting is the finding that timekeeping functions differ between tissues. This suggests that the regulation of circadian rhythms are customized for each tissue, for each organ, and for the whole organism (e.g., for diurnal and nocturnal animals). Here’s a sample of the complexity researchers found when they measured gene expression in the tissues of one species of primate, the olive wild baboon:Approximately 11,000 transcripts were expressed in all 64 sampled tissues, which the researchers called ubiquitously expressed genes, including many involved in basic cellular functions such as DNA repair, transcription, and protein homeostasis. Most of these ubiquitously expressed genes were rhythmic in at least one tissue, but there was little overlap in rhythmic genes between tissues, which suggests that tissue-specific mechanisms control oscillatory expression. For example, a gene that had rhythmic expression in the liver was constitutively expressed in the heart. Because ubiquitously expressed genes control fundamental biological processes, timing their expression can affect the overall function of a tissue. For example, diurnal regulation of exocytosis in the thyroid or adrenal glands may enable rhythmic release of endocrine factors, compared with other organs in which the timing of exocytosis is less important for function.The Whole-Genome ClockCredit: Illustra MediaIn another Perspective article by Carolina Diettrich Mallet de Lima and Anita Göndör in Science, we learn that the whole genome itself is organized to facilitate circadian homeostasis, that is, the maintenance of accurate timekeeping in spite of external perturbations.Maps of physical contact probabilities between distant regions have earlier revealed that the genome is organized into topologically associating domains (TADs) displaying high local, intradomain chromatin-fiber contact frequencies. Given that TADs constrain and thereby increase the specificity of enhancer-promoter (E-P) contacts, the mechanisms and dynamics of TAD formation are intensely investigated.This organization that regulates gene expression is highly specific, as would be expected for homeostasis. But it also exhibits flexibility. The Perspective article references a paper in Science by Kim et al. that shows that the circadian clock is not only reliable, it is able to adapt to changing conditions.Phenotypic plasticity, the potential for phenotypic change in response to external signals, drives adaptation to environmental fluctuations and requires flexible gene regulation. A seminal example of adaptive plasticity is represented by the circadian clock, which establishes 24-hour rhythmicity in physiology, metabolic activities, and behavior. As external time cues, such as light and food intake, can reset the phase of oscillations, circadian homeostasis enables light-sensitive organisms to both anticipate and adapt to daily environmental cycles. On page 1274 of this issue, Kim et al. provide a glimpse into the genome-wide complexity of transcriptional plasticity during the physiological circadian cycle in mice, with implications for our understanding of diseases linked with deregulation of the circadian clock.The Cell Cycle ClockAnother type of clock does not need to know the time of day so much as it needs to ensure processes occur in the proper sequence. Business project managers are familiar with Gantt charts or Pert charts that lay out the sequence of steps in a project, such as what steps need to complete before other steps can begin. A foreman on the project might establish checkpoints for go or no-go decisions based on upstream events. That’s what the cell does when its project is duplicating itself. Phys.org tells how proteins regulate the cell cycle:Credit: Illustra MediaCell division is the basis of all life. Even the smallest errors in this complex process can lead to grave diseases like cancer. Certain proteins have to be switched on or off at specific times for proper cell division. Biophysicists and medical biochemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have described the underlying mechanism of this process. They report how different signaling pathways in the cell change the structures of proteins, thereby driving the cell division cycle in the right direction at the right time. The researchers present their findings in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.Lest anyone doubt that the cell cycle is irreducibly complex, read on:The cell cycle is an extremely complex and precisely defined process. “The parent cell has to double its existing components and then divide into daughter cells. In order to do this, numerous genes have to be switched on and off at very specific times,” says biophysicist Professor Jochen Balbach from MLU. The cell cycle is sub-divided into phases. These are controlled by what are known as inhibitor proteins, also called CDK inhibitors. Like a red traffic light, these proteins block transition to the next phase until the cell gives the relevant start signal. ConclusionPaley’s watch has been found. It was inside him all the time, as well as inside the heather on the heath. The exciting thing is, it is far more complex than Paley could have imagined. If a relatively simple watch on the ground was sufficient to infer intelligent design, how much more the regulated, flexible, switching circadian clocks described above?Exercise: Darwinians will undoubtedly rush to argue that there is an evolutionary path to the human circadian clock with all its complexity. Some early microbe found it beneficial to regulate its activity by the diurnal cycle. Later organisms got better at it, and over millions of years, here we are. How would you respond to this claim? (comments are invited). We have more to say about natural selection in a future post, but start with our March 13 entry, ‘Natural Selection? No – Sheer Dumb Luck.” The evolutionary comeback hinges on what ‘fitness’ means, and whether natural selection is a creative process with functional innovation as an expected outcome. It’s not enough to imagine a path and tell just-so stories about it. The actual random mutations that were selected need to be specified.Extra Credit: Many skeptics feel that David Hume answered Paley’s argument from design and basically overturned the case of the natural theologians. Hume, however, wrote his Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion in 1779, a full 23 years before Paley’s book came out. Imagine a debate between Hume and Paley. Who do you think would have succeeded in 1802? Who do you think would win in 2018, now that we know much more about life, genetics and the living cell?last_img read more