St Canice’s Co-Ed NS in ConcertPosted on May 28th, 2012
A standing ovation for the Senior Orchestra of St Canice’s Co-Ed NS, Kilkenny was a fitting end to two wonderful nights of musical entertainment provided by over 400 primary school children in the Watergate Theatre. The school’s biannual Maytime Melodies concert was a sell out show on both nights and provided ample evidence, if any was needed, of the wealth of musical talent in the Kilkenny primary school. The theatre was packed to capacity on both nights with proud parents, grandparents and families gathering to enjoy the musical spectacle, consisting of 19 different group performances, 2 Orchestras, 2 Jazz Bands, and a Concert Brass Ensemble.
Due to the expansion of the music programme in St Canice’s over the past number of years, two very different shows were held on both nights. The first show mainly featured the school’s junior musicians. Compere Gina O Leary, Artistic Director of the music programme, told the audience to forget the doom and gloom of these difficult times and to sit back and enjoy the music. And what music to enjoy! The curtains opened to a group of more than 60 junior infants on violins, the aptly called Baby Bows, making their debut performance on stage. Waving and smiling to the audience, holding their tiny instruments, this was a heart-warming opening. The show also featured beginner cellos, violas, recorders, pocket trumpets, flutes, “Percussion Pups” and the “Rockaroos”, with an Australian twist! St Canices Cubs, all beginners on saxophone and clarinet, wowed the audience with a jazzed up version of some familiar tunes as did the Junior Jazz Band, both under the baton of Eamon Cahill. The School’s Junior Orchestra, conducted by Margaret O’ Faoláin de Bhróithe played some of their prize winning pieces and brought the first show to a rousing close. Consisting of over 60 children mainly in 2nd and 3rd classes, they are a fitting demonstration of the progression and development of the children’s musical ability through the school’s music programme from year to year.
Thursday night’s performance mainly consisted of children in the senior end of the school and featured violins, cellos, the Recorder Ensemble, and the “Groovy Guitars”. The show also featured the debut performance of the brass groups, the Barinettes, the Buskineers, Trumpets and the St Canice’s Concert Brass Ensemble, who were recently formed in the school following the acquisition of some wonderful new brass instruments, such as baritones, trombones, trumpets, and French horns. The penultimate act, the school’s Senior Jazz Band conducted by Eamon Cahill, was superbly cool as always, playing “Theme from Mission Impossible” and “The Flintstones”. Mayor David Fitzgerald, speaking before the final act, thanked all those involved in the show and in particular both Gina O Leary, the inspiration behind the programme, and the stars of the night, all the children who had performed on stage. For many, the school’s prize winning Senior “A” Orchestra was the highlight of the evening. The Orchestra, conducted by Ruth O Leary, has seen its numbers swell in recent years as the range of musical instruments available to students has increased. They played a repertoire of 6 pieces, including “Valiant Knight” and “Emperors Waltz” concluding with the anthemic “Dambusters March”, by Eric Coates, synonymous with the famous 1950s film. The audience were on their feet immediately to acknowledge such an accomplished performance, by, lest we forget, 10-12 year old children! While the Orchestra had received a similar standing ovation following their performance in the National Concert Hall in February of this year, this wonderful reception on home ground was the sweetest one of all!
Shows such as these do not happen without tremendous preparation work done months in advance, and huge credit is due to Gina O Leary, all music tutors and school staff, administrator of the music programme Mary Conway, and the very active Parents Music Committee in the school headed up by Jane Harte. Well done to all! In these recessionary times music can be a wonderful means of escapism from the constant barrage of bad news that we are subjected to everyday. In her foreword in the shows programme, Maria Comerford, Principal of St Canice’s, reminded people that the everyday pleasure and sense of achievement gained by children from playing music is the real success of the music programme in the school. We hope these children will always continue to enjoy playing music and to share in the pleasure that it brings.