The Senior Orchestra travelled to the City North Hotel, Co. Meath to play with Fergus Shiels’, Julianstown Youth Orchestra on Tuesday 2nd June 2015. The day provided a great opportunity for our orchestra to play with Fergus Sheil's orchestra. A small concert completed the day.
On 11th June, eight years of playing culminated in a beautiful event for our young sixth class musicians and their parents alike at the Sixth Class Farewell Concert. This Year there were 32 acts, which included individual performances and those of groups, with some of our musicians taking the stage on more than one occasion and on more than one instrument in many cases! It was a wonderful evening thoroughly enjoyed by all and was closed by a moving rendition of "Can You Feel The Love Tonight" from the Lion King. We were joined by Mayor Sean O'hAgain who presented every pupil of the programme with a certificate of achievement and as principal of the Gaelscoil Osrai, in Kilkenny, congratulated Regina, the music staff, teachers and Mrs Comerford, our principal, on the remarkable achievements of the music programme, stating it was something every school should aspire to creating. The evening concluded with drinks and food as provided by the music committee and Sixth Class parents and Domino's pizza as a well deserved treat from the music programme for the young musicians.
The Senior Orchestra got into the Christmas spirit with carols played in MacDonagh Junction and a collection by parents for much needed funds for the O'Neill Centre in Kilkenny.
Sixth Class Quartet The DAPA Quartet were filmed by RTE playing "Ironclad" by Sean O'Loughlin beside the River Nore for the programme Abhainn. The programme follows life along banks of various rivers in Ireland from its source to its mouth. The DAPA Quartet are Dara Scobie, Ana O'Shea, Patrick O'Shea and Annie McEvoy.
It was a case of events coming full circle for Ruth O’ Leary, who made her debut as conductor of St Canice’s NS Orchestra in the National Concert Hall on Saturday 4 February. Back in 1997 Ruth performed with the same orchestra at the 2nd Festival of Youth Orchestras, when her Mother, Regina O’Leary was conductor. That baton has now been passed from mother to daughter. We arrived for a rehearsal, a quick packed lunch and then to enjoy the afternoon show followed by a quick meal in a nearby hotel, during which some parents ended up doing a spot of impromptu waitressing! We were given the honour of opening the show, playing Charles Woodhouse’s “Peasant Dance”, “Emperors Waltz” by Strauss, “Can You feel the Love Tonight” from The Lion King, and “Theme to Star Wars”. Something special lay in wait for the audience next as the strings section played the thrilling “Palladio for Strings” by Karl Jenkins and finally “The Valiant Knight” by Charles Woodhouse. The audience were on their feet immediately as the orchestra received a noisy and sustained standing ovation! How proud we were, of our school, our music teachers and most especially our children – the only primary school orchestra to perform in the evening show!
It was a hat-trick of victories for our Senior and Junior Orchestra and Senior Jazz Band who swept the boards the Wesley College Interschools Music Festival held in Dublin on Saturday 3 March. The Senior Orchestra, conducted by Ruth O Leary, played the rousing "The Valiant Knight" by Charles Woodhouse and scooped first place and took the Miller Cup. The Senior Jazz Band, conducted by Eamon Cahill, played the popular "Theme from Mission Impossible" by Lalo Schiffrin and gained second place while the Junior Orchestra conducted by Margaret O’Faoláin de Bhróithe delighted the audience with a duet of numbers; "Marco takes a Walk" by Sheila Nelson and the "Double Surprise Symphony" by Haydn and were awarded third place. Celebrations took place afterwards in the Red Cow Moran Hotel, where the children enjoyed a meal.
After a performance by some orchestra members on the John Murray show on RTE Radio 1, the orchestra were invited to Dublin to perform at the Catholic Primary Schools Management Association Conference. What an honour to be asked to provide the musical entertainment for one of the major educational events of the year. The orchestra astounded the "movers and shakers" of the education world and great tributes were paid to Regina and Ruth O'Leary and all teachers, parents, the board of management and pupils involved. The performance established national recognition for the programme. The evening was started with stunning performances by five of our quartets followed by something to eat for our hungry musicians and finished with a fantastic performance from our Senior Orchestra.
Over thirty children from the school attended the very popular IAYO National Chamber Music Workshop weekend in Castletown, Co Laois in mid-September. This was the largest number of children to have ever attended the course and is indicative of the increasing popularity of chamber music in the school. Great fun was had by all!
The cream of Kilkenny Cats concert offers some of the best of Kilkenny's homegrown young talent serving up a feast of Jazz. Our Junior and Senior Jazz band, directed by Eamon Cahill, performed on the night and many of our former musicians were seen performing in various other ensembles.
On the 14th December the music committee hosted what has come to be an annual event, having taken place first in 2010 and then 2011, the Christmas Breakfast Morning. Children from the whole of St Canice's were given a menu at the beginning of the week and invited to choose from a number of festive options for their delicious breakfast for the small sum of €3. The delighted and very excited children were then brought into the hall in groups over the course of the morning where the music committee served them up their mouth-watering food and drink options to the background of festive music. A fun-filled event enjoyed by all and a very successful fund-raising event organised and co-ordinated by the music committee.
Patrons enjoyed an incredible night of musical excellence at the 30th Anniversary Gala Concert celebrating the foundation of St Canice’s Instrumental Music Programme. It was a showcase of current musicians in the school and of several artists who have gone on to become renowned musicians in their own right, such as Maria Ryan (current holder of the Heineken violin); David O Leary, Alison Comerford and Mark O Leary.
It marked the debut of St Canice’s Gateway Orchestra, a very special adult orchestra of amateur musicians. Eamon Cahill, synonymous with teaching jazz featured two of his jazz bands. It was a night of musical diversity; from French horn, and trombone, played by brother and sister Muireann and Lorcan Brennan to violin and flute, played by Aisling O Dwyer-O Brien and John Donovan. One of the highlights was the performance of Mendelssohn’s “Octet for Strings”. Maria Ryan, violinist played Tchaikovsky’s “Melodie” followed by the frenetically paced “Banjo and Fiddle” by Kroll. David O Leary, violinist with the English National Opera, played ‘Carmen Fantasy’ by Sarasate and received a standing ovation. St Canice’s Senior Orchestra, conducted by Ruth O Leary, closed the show. For many of the older children on stage, it marked their last time in the familiar red orchestra sweatshirt, as they leave for secondary school in September. The night would not be complete without special mention of the woman who made this all possible, Regina O Leary. She received a special presentation from her son David in recognition of her creation of a legacy of music for thousands of children in Kilkenny. Regina thanked all who contributed to the success of the programme over the last 30 years. Dublin conductor and adjudicator Dr Albert Bradshaw praised Regina for the profound impact she has had on the lives of so many through her work in music education.
Regina Nathan , (Soprano) brought her Concert of “Operatic Arias and Sacred Classics” to The Cathedral Church of St Canice in celebration of St Canice’s Day.
The concert featured a selection of popular operatic arias such as ‘O mio babbino caro’, ‘Ebben n’andrò’, ‘Vissi d’arte’ and other arias in the first half of the concert accompanied by The Michael John Chamber Orchestra who will also be performing some favourite orchestral pieces. The second half of the concert includes some Irish folk songs with piano followed by well know classic hymns and sacred music ; Make me a channel of your peace, Céad míle failte romhat, Panis Angelicus and many others.
Regina was thrilled to have the St Canice’s Senior Orchestra as her guest on this special night.
The first workshop involving our Senior Orchestra members under the tutelage of NSO members took place on Monday 11th November.
This workshop is part of an initiative sponsored by the Arts Council and Kilkenny County Council, which sees the Senior Orchestra learning two new and challenging pieces. The pieces will be completed through two workshops with NSO members and with two Orchestral rehearsals led by NSO Conductor Fergus Sheil. The Senior orchestra will then perform in a special short concert on Friday 6 December at 7pm, showcasing their work with the RTE NSO.
The percussion workshop was supervised by NSO percussionist Richard O'Donnell, the violins and violas were supervised by NSO violinist Mary Wheatley (assisted by ex St Canice's players Jenna Raggett and Marie-Therese Boland), the cello and double basses were supervised by NSO cellist Violetta Muth-McKimm, the flutes and recorders were supervised by NSO flautist Riona O'Duinnin with help from Lucy Heary, the clarinets and saxophones were supervised by NSO bassoonist Hilary Sheil and the brass players were supervised by NSO french horn player Ian Dakin. Second Cello's were assisted by ex St Canice's player Elizabeth Boland.
Our young players felt honoured to be afforded this very unique opportunity to participate in the workshop with professional musicians and had a musically challenging and fulfilling afternoon.
Our privileged orchestra members were conducted by Fergus Sheil (Conductor RTE National Symphony Orchestra) at their rehearsal on Wednesday November 20th and also enjoyed his professional attention at their rehearsal on Wednesday, 27th November!
Niamh Walsh (Senior Orchestra Leader) and Aoibheann Smyth (Niamh's second in command) attended a special masterclass with Tasmin Little (O.B.E) at the National Concert Hall on Tuesday 3rd December ahead of the RTE National Symphony Orchestra concert in Kilkenny on Friday 6th December.
This once in a lifetime opportunity for the Senior Orchestra, saw them playing on Friday December 6th in the Watergate Theatre alongside the RTE National Symphony Orchestra and with acclaimed concert violinist Tasmin Litlle (we have been requested not to show this performance by Tasmin Little's management company). The Orchestra performed "The Firebird Finale", by Stravinsky and conducted by Fergus Sheil of the NSO. Also under the baton of Fergus they were honoured to perform Vivaldi's "Spring From The Four Seasons" which featured a solo performance by Tasmin Little. Their mentor and conductor Ruth O'Leary led them in their performances of "Themes From First Symphony" by Brahms and "Trepak", from the Nutcracker Suite by Tschaikowsky. A wonderful evening’s entertainment was enjoyed by all who attended.
St Canice's Gateway Orchestra were invited to perform in the Musical Society's Christmas Concert on Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th December. The show featured stars of Kilkenny Musical Society, past & present and guest artists from years gone by as well as today’s local stars of the stage, for a magical journey through musical theatre history.
Two of our Sixth Class Quartets performed during the Sue Nunn show on Friday 13th December during a special outside broadcast Christmas Show by KCLR in The Set John Street, Kilkenny. Local radio audiences enjoyed renditions of Santa Claus Is Coming To Town and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas. Performers were Niamh Walsh, Ellie Kane, Dara Scobie, Issey Shine, Aoibhin Leamy, David Connolly, Christine Doheny, Ben Kavanagh and Aisling Newing. They also met some of the unusual creatures that Reptile Village brought along!
The highly anticipated Annual Christmas Breakfast Morning took place in the School Hall on Friday 13th December. The children were offered a choice of one of four drinks, one of two savoury snacks and one of two sweet snacks and all for only €4. Santa's little helpers were very busy prior to the event baking! It was a really great morning and probably our best one yet in terms of atmosphere. One little junior infant declared that it was the happiest day of his life!
On Friday December 20th, The Senior Jazz Band, Junior Jazz Band and Recorder Ensemble took place in the annual "Cream of Kilkenny’s Cats" Jazz Spectacular show. The show featured the ever growing number of Jazz ‘Big Bands’ from various schools of Kilkenny who showcased their talents along with some of the finest individual performers in the county. Groups performing on the night included, the award-winning Kilkenny Wind Ensemble, Kilkenny College Senior Jazz Band, CBS/Loreto Senior and Junior Jazz Bands (with many ex St Canice's members), Castlecomer C.S. senior band, and St. Kieran’s College Jazz Band. Every year is a sell-out and this year the audience was treated to music by legends such as Springsteen, Sinatra and Slade and even Shakin Stephens as well as a feast of festive favourites.
A great afternoon of busking by the Senior Orchestra took place in a very busy McDonagh Junction on Friday 20th December. The children were fantastic and entertained the many shoppers with a selection of carols and Christmas songs. Volunteers collected in aid of Enable Ireland/The O'Neill Centre. Thanks to all who helped in any way to make it such a lovely occasion.
Saturday 2nd March saw our sixth class musicians leave their standard guidance examinations and hop straight onto a bus with the other members of the Senior Orchestra bound for Wesley College Interschools Music Festival. The orchestra were determined to retain the Miller Cup which they were awarded in the same competition in 2012. A quick packed lunch was followed by a rehearsal and then the performance. The orchestra performed "Dambusters" directed by Ruth O'Leary and their superb performance rightfully earned them the bestowing of the Miller Cup. The cup was collected by Ruth Kent (leader) on behalf of the triumphant orchestra.
This year marked the fifteenth year of The Kilkenny Music Festival, the largest of its kind in the south of Ireland. With more than 70 competitions, the choral, vocal solo, and instrumental performances featured competitors from Kilkenny, Carlow, Laois, Waterford and Wexford.
The festival always brings together a wide spread of ages and talents with competitions which cater for all levels and walks of life. A final Gala concert marks the end of the festival and showcases musicians chosen by the festival adjudicators from eighty winners of the festival’s competitions to perform and have the opportunity of winning the festival's most prestigious prizes.
This year as every year we saw a large number of our talented musicians from the music programme enter the various competitions and in many cases be highly successful. Our musicians Georgia Shine, Liam and Aoibheann Smyth, Daire Maher and Ruth Kent as well as former St Canices pupils, Alex Lawless, Marie Therese Boland, Jenna Raggett won their competitions and perfomed onstage in the Watergate on Gala night.
On the 19th of March our intrepid Junior and Senior Orchestras journeyed to Dublin to compete in the Feis Ceoil. The trip was taken via Liffey Valley where our young musicians enjoyed some retail therapy and lunch in the food court and then subsequently continued to the RDS for the competition. Our Junior Orchestra, directed by Margaret O Faoláin de Bhróite, played “Prelude in G” by Edward B Jurey and “Marco Takes a Walk” by Sheila Nelson, wonderfully and were victorious taking away the Peter Killian Cup. Our Senior Orchestra, directed by Ruth O'Leary, played “Dambusters March” by Eric Coates and Elgars “Nimrod” and were a close runner up to their younger friends, taking second place. This marked the twenty first time the Peter Killian Cup was brought to St Canice's.
Opera Theatre Ireland staged Carmen in the Watergate on Thursday May 9th. Eleven of our Sixth Class students sang in the Children’s Chorus and experienced the thrill of being in a professional production such as this. Well done Ella Brennan, Ruth Kent, Sinead Flynn, Kiri O'Neill, Richard Obisanya, Doireann Sloyan, Sarah Smith, Aine Trait, Jane Cass, Kate Dempsey and Alannah Kennedy.
RTE came to the school to record over three days for a series of sixteen programmes “Meet the Orchestra” which was aired on RTE Junior in September 2013. The programme's aim was to introduce children to the instruments of the orchestra. Our Senior Orchestra were interviewed and recorded individually and together during the session. See excerpts of each of the sixteen programmes which showcase our own student with their instrument in an interview and then whilst performing with the Senior Orchestra.
Every year Eamon gives Primary and Secondary children Join a jazz band for a week. Activities include busking, recording & concerts.
As part of the National Craft Gallery’s Culture Night, Blown Beats, our Senior Orchestra kicked off proceedings with a fun filled performance in the courtyard.
The National Youth Arts Showcase 2014 took place on Thursday, 25th September at the National Museum of Ireland in Dublin. It was opened by Heather Humphreys T.D., Minister for the Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. Performing groups included Monaghan Youth Theatre, Young Irish Filmmakers and St Canice's Music Programme's Dynamica Quartet, featuring musicians Katie Breen, Georgia Shine, Hanaa Josef and Sophia O'Shea.
The Dynamica Quartet entertained Mayor Andrew McGuiness, local councillors and guests at the Mayor's reception in the County Hall.
Eamon's Senior Jazz Band appeared on the Late Late Toy Show playing Pharrell Williams "Happy" alongside a collection of school children picked during the Late Late Toy Show Auditions.
The highly anticipated Annual Christmas Breakfast Morning took place in the School Hall on Friday 12th December. The children were offered a choice of one of four drinks, one of two savoury snacks and one of two sweet snacks and all for only €4. Santa's little helpers were very busy prior to the event baking!
On Friday 12th December Eamon Cahill staged a concert to remember in the Watergate Theatre with his annual Christmas Jazz spectacular "A Jazzy Merry Christmas". The concert featured performances from St Canices Junior Jazz Band, St Canices Senior Jazz Band and many of our ex St Canices brass and wind pupils playing with Kilkenny Jazz Band, Loreto's Jazz Band, CBS Jazz Band, Kieran's Jazz Band and Kilkenny College Jazz Band. A solo performance of D. J. Delaney (6th Class) of Acker Bilk's "Stranger On The Shore" also featured on the night. It was a wonderful night filled with lots of festive fun!
This annual event was held in St Canices Cathedral on Saturday 11th December. Our Recorder Ensemble and String Players from Our Senior Orchestra played on a night whose proceeds are donated to local charities.
As is our yearly tradition the Senior Orchestra busked in McDonagh Junction on Friday 19th December. All proceeds were raised for Enable Ireland.
Saturday 8th February was a very proud night for Regina O Leary as she accepted a Special Achievement Award from the Irish Association of Youth Orchestras (IAYO) in recognition of 30 years of music by St Canice’s Instrumental Music Programme. Minister for Children, Frances Fitzgerald, presented Regina with the award onstage at the annual Festival of Youth Orchestras Concert at the National Concert Hall in recognition of the contribution the music programme has made to the development of youth orchestras. Since the foundation of the programme in 1983, thousands of Kilkenny children have been given the opportunity to learn how to play a musical instrument and to enjoy playing music. The IAYO make two special annual awards to organisations who have made a significant and innovative contribution to the development of their youth orchestras. The Special Achievement Award was presented to the programme for a year of celebrations to mark the 30th anniversary which included the creation of our wonderful new website (by parent Kate O Connell) and the very successful Gala Concert in the Watergate Theatre in June 2013. Speaking after the presentation of the award, Regina said the programme is a testament to the dedicated music teachers team, our wonderful and supportive principal Maria Comerford and teaching staff, the unprecedented commitment given by amazing Parents' Committees both present and past and the gifted talented children who have passed through the doors of St Canice's over the past 30 years. Finally she said that the young musicians of St Canice's have given her 30 years of unimaginable joy and long may it continue!
The 16th Annual Kilkenny Music Festival took place from Tuesday, March 4th for six days until Sunday, March 9th 2014. This unique event as always provided a special opportunity for music lovers of all ages to support and enjoy live performances at venues throughout the city.
Known for its inclusive and encouraging atmosphere, this year’s festival incorporated 88 competitions including choral, vocal, piano, wind, brass, strings and chamber music. The huge popularity and high standard of the vocal competitions alone necessitated the appointment of two adjudicators for the first time in the festival’s history. It is also the first year that the festival ran over 6 days- again due to ever- increasing numbers of competitors and the dedication of the festival committee and volunteers to provide a valuable opportunity for the musicians and vocalists of Ireland to perform in front of highly regarded adjudicators.
The Gala Concert was staged at the Watergate Theatre on Thursday, March 20th where the major awards for the most outstanding competitors were announced.
The festival’s audiences of family, friends and music lovers have long held an important role in helping to create the enjoyable and appreciative atmosphere for which the Gala Concert is known. As always this year the Festival was indebted to its sponsors: St Canice’s Credit Union, Kilkenny Borough Council, Meubles, State Street and Bank of Ireland.
Our Senior and Junior Orchestras travelled to the RDS to compete in the Primary School Orchestra Competition on Monday 7th April. Our Senior Orchestra were victorious bringing the Peter Killian cup home to Kilkenny for the 22nd time! The Junior Orchestra took second place in the competition and were only a point behind the Senior players. It was a very enjoyable day for all teachers, parents and children who travelled to Dublin.
Maytime Melodies bienniel concert was held on Tuesday 20th and Wednesday 21st of May with two wonderful nights of musical entertainment provided by over 400 participants of the music programme. As ever the show was a sell out on both nights with families and friends enjoying 20 different group performances, 2 Orchestras, 2 Jazz Bands, and a Concert Brass Ensemble.
Katie Breen, Sophia O'Shea, Hanaa Yousof and Georgia Shine (Dynamica Quartet) entertained President Michael D Higgins at a reception held in Butler House during his visit to Kilkenny on the 6th June.
A beautiful night with extraordinary performances from our wonderful 6th class students. There was delicious food sent in by the parents and to the Music Committee organised a great social evening. The evening was tinged with sadness as we said a sad Farewell to Claire Brennan who has given countless hours to the development of the programme and has set up so many systems to ensure the future of the programme. We also said a fond Farewell to Jim Delaney and I wish to thank him for his huge support as Orchestra Manager to both the Senior Orchestra and the Senior Jazz Band.
St Canice's Senior Orchestra were chosen to promote the IAYO 20th Festival of Orchestras on the John Murray Show on the 15th January.
The 20th Anniversary Festival of Youth Orchestras concert took place on Saturday 7 February in the beautiful surroundings of the National Concert Hall in Dublin. This is the fifth time St Canice’s have been invited to perform at the concert over the past 20 years and it is a singular honour for a primary school orchestra to be invited to perform. St Canice’s shared the stage that night with the Irish Wind Ensemble and the National Youth Orchestra, amongst others, and was the only primary school orchestra to perform that night.
Orchestra conductor, Ruth O Leary, had planned an ambitious programme for this special performance. Weekly orchestra rehearsals were held since September and even included some additional Sunday rehearsals! Many children sacrificed their Sunday swimming and rugby matches to attend these practices and their diligence and commitment is to be commended. A special version of Ravel’s “Bolero” (more familiar to us as the music to that famous Torvill and Dean ice skating routine) was commissioned for the event and specially adapted for the orchestra by Irish Conductor Fergus Sheil. The repertoire also included Tchaikovsky’s “Trepak”, “Dambusters” by Eric Coates and American Composer Sean O Loughlin’s “Ironclad”.
The orchestra left St Canices at 8.30am in order to rehearse on the great stage of the NCH before the afternoon performances. They had their packed lunches, listened to the afternoon performance and then went out for a meal. Their performance on stage ended the first half of the evening concert and was hailed by two standing ovations!
A note from Regina O'Leary 8th February 2015
Congratulations to St Canice's Senior Orchestra who gave a sensational performance at the NCH last night. You wowed the audience with four stunning pieces and thoroughly deserved your TWO standing ovations. The feedback from IAYO has been incredible and you and Ruth have made a little bit of history and created a sense of awe with your ability to perform such a challenging yet spine- tingling repertoire for such a young group of instrumentalists. Ruth O Leary did an extraordinary job and has brought this orchestra to heights almost unimaginable.This was the most amazing team effort ever experienced in the history of our Music Programme- from the dedicated team of Music Teachers who coached the children through the Sectional practices to the incredible team of parents who took over the practical side of everything entailed in the preparation for this unforgettable event. Thanks to the huge support given to the children by Mrs Comerford and all the teaching staff of our school and to the IAYO who included us in their 20th Anniversary Concert.
A huge well done to both our orchestras who performed so well at Feis Ceoil on Thursday 26th March, with the Senior Orchestra winning the Peter Killian cup for the 22nd time and the Junior Orchestra claiming a well deserved 2nd place. The other orchestra competing in the competition was the Kennedy Park National School Orchestra, Wexford.
All the children were impeccably behaved on the day and were a credit to the school. Click here to see the RTE Player Feis Ceoil documentary, “ESB Feis Ceoil: In Time”, which features the orchestras performing!
Congratulations to Regina O’Leary, our inspirational director, who received the Agnes O’Kane Award on Saturday 13th February 2016, at the IAYO 21st Festival of Youth Orchestras . The Agnes O’Kane Award is presented annually and recognises the vital contribution that a volunteer has had in the growth of youth orchestras over the last thirty years. Regina is a truly fitting recipient of this great honour.
The Junior and Senior Orchestra travelled to the RDS in Dublin to compete in the annual Feis Ceoil on Monday 14th March 2016. The Senior Orchestra, lead by Liam Smyth and conducted by Ruth O'Leary were victorious, bringing home the Peter Killian cup to Kilkenny for the whopping 24th occasion!
Jazz anocht! Catch The Cream of Kilkenny Cats in action from 8 with students from Kieran’s College, CBS Secondary School, Castlecomer Community School, Loreto, St Canices National School and Kilkenny College!
The Junior Orchestra travelled to the RDS in Dublin to compete in the annual Feis Ceoil on Friday 31st March 2017. The Junior Orchestra, were victorious, bringing home the Peter Killian cup to Kilkenny for the 25th occasion.