MUSIC AS AN EXAM SUBJECT
Music is compulsory for all First Year students where every effort is made to make it as interesting as possible and where every student learns to play some instrument. The numbers choosing music as a Junior Cert subject is growing every year and for those wishing to take it at Leaving Cert level there is the added bonus of an arrangement with our near neighbours St.Brigid’s whereby the boys join with the girls of to study music in the Pres.
Music making and music classes are an integral part of day to day life in St.Brendan’s. Each year, as new students join our school, they bring with them new talents and a wide range of musical abilities. Our goal is to facilitate and encourage all genres of music and to help each student flourish in his chosen area. Naturally there are those who come in with very little or no musical knowledge and it is always interesting to watch the more experienced musicians both impress and encourage those who haven’t yet mastered an instrument. Our ethos in the Music Department is to at least encourage all students to try some instrument. For those who are interested in learning instruments outside of the cla
ssroom we are fortunate to have both a drummer and a guitar teacher who are available during and after school to give lessons.
TRANSITION YEAR MUSIC
We are of course aware that by the time students reach senior cycle many have chosen not to play an instrument or participate in music since First Year. In an effort to encourage the boys to give musical performance another chance this year we engaged the services Drum Dance Ireland and the dynamic Urs Wenk. For six weeks Urs has worked with the Music Department to put together an end of year performance combining drumming, song and African dance . The whole experience has been an exciting one for all involved and the decibel level in the music each Monday afternoon has reached an unprecedented high!
We are fortunate to have strong links with the Killarney School of Music and trad guru Padraig Buckley gives regular workshops to the students. This year we have seen the growth of Ceoltoiri Bhreanainn, our very own trad group, and we are delighted to now have a group of over 20 musicians playing a huge range of instruments including accordions, concertinas, fiddles, flutes, uileann pipes, mandolins, drums and keyboards.
For those who don’t play an instrument there is always an opportunity to join the school choir. Here we operate an open door system where all students are welcome to come along. Our choir now has over thirty members and is a very important part of many school occasions including School Masses, Christmas Carol Services, Concerts and Awards Night.
LIAM O’CONNOR CHAPEL CONCERT
The 2013/14 academic year has been a very exciting one for the Music Department and with many different events in which to participate throughout the year it can be difficult to single out one in particular. The Liam O’Connor Chapel concert was held on the 26th February and holds special memories for all involved. Having attended the Christmas Carol Service, and been hugely impressed by our beautiful chapel, Liam approached the school about the possibility of doing a concert in what he saw as a very special venue. On Wednesday, Feb 26th our trad musicians and our choir joined with Liam and his team of musicians to put on a concert that had the audience on its feet for two standing ovations! It was an opportunity of a lifetime for all of us and, while nobody can be certain of what the future holds, it is hoped that The Chapel Concert of 2014 will not be the last.
We are always anxious to expose our students to as many cultural events as possible in all departments and in the last two years we have taken groups to Dublin to see The Lion King (2013) and War Horse (2014). These days out, while centred around the show, are about much more than the few hours in the theatre and the train ride to Dublin, the spin on the Luas and a visit to one of the many tourist attractions in our capital city all combine to make these outings great occasions for the boys.