Waltons New School of Music - Waltons Music for Schools Competition Primary School Finalists 2017

Primary School Finalists 2017

Waltons Music for Schools Competition

Waltons Music for Schools CompetitionThe six Primary School Finalists, as well as Highly Commended and Commended schools, selected in the 2017 Waltons Music for Schools Competition. Schools are listed in alphabetical order, and Finalist schools link to profiles, videos and how they addressed this year's Competition theme, Music Has No Borders, below.

Finalist Schools

Highly Commended Schools

  • Corville National School, Roscrea, Co. Tipperary
  • Danecastle National School, Carrig on Bannow, Co. Wexford
  • Donaghpatrick National School, Tuam, Co. Galway
  • Gaelscoil Moshíológ, Guaire, Co. Loch Garman
  • Gaelscoil Shlí Dála, An Bealach Mór, Co. Laoise
  • Loreto Senior Primary School, Crumlin Road, Dublin 12
  • Presentation Primary School, Fermoy, Co. Cork
  • Scoil Bhríde, Mionloch, Co. Gaillimh – Rang 3 & 4 Entry
  • Scoil Na Mainistreach Quin Dangan, Quin, Co. Clare
  • Scoil Nioclais Naofa, Dunlavin, Co. Wicklow
  • St. Joseph's Girls National School, Clonakilty, Co. Cork

Commended Schools

  • Ballymacarbry Central National School, Ballymacarbry, Co. Waterford
  • Bunscoil Loreto, Gorey, Co. Wexford – All Other Entries
  • Bishop Galvin Central School, Newcestown, Co. Cork
  • Caragh National School, Caragh, Co. Kildare
  • Gaelscoil Chionn tSáile, Chionn tSáile, Co. Corcaigh
  • Gaelscoil de hÍde, Oranmore, Co. na Gaillimhe
  • Lissenhall National School, Nenagh, Tipperary
  • Monaleen National School, Castletroy, Limerick
  • Our Lady of Good Counsel GNS, Dun Laoghaire, Co. Dublin
  • Our Lady's Clonskeagh, Milltown, Dublin 14
  • Scoil Bhríde, Mionloch, Co. Gaillimh – Rang 5 & 6 Entry
  • Scoil Mhuire Convent Primary School, Ardnanagh, Co. Roscommon
  • St. Ciaran's National School, Baylin, Co. Westmeath
  • St. Ciaran's National School, Hartstown, Dublin 15
  • St. Joseph's Primary School, Ballinrobe, Co. Mayo

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Bunscoil Loreto, Gorey, Co. Wexford – Orchestra Entry

Bunscoil Loreto (696 students) has a thriving whole‐school music programme in which children, teachers and parents are involved. Such was the interest in this year’s Competition that many more students wanted to be involved than could be accommodated with a single entry, so the school submitted no less than nine entries, starting with a group of Junior Infants! All students in Bunscoil Loreto learn tin whistle from Junior Infants to Sixth Class through a special curriculum developed by the school, and violin is also taught to all students from Second to Fifth Class. In addition to instrumental teaching, the school has several choirs, a school orchestra, a school traditional group and a harp ensemble. There is also a staff choir and traditional group, and teachers at Bunscoil Loreto are not only very involved in the school’s music programme but also in the wider community. Finally, in association with the Gorey/Ballygarrett branch of Comhaltas Ceoltoirí Éireann, the school hosts group practice sessions every week. Bunscoil Loreto would use a Music for Schools Competition prize for more instruments, including violas, concertinas, button accordions and possibly a harp.

Addressing this Year’s Theme

Having brainstormed many ideas to illustrate this year’s theme, the group developed a storyline that was current and relevant to their town. The piece begins in rural Hungary. The group plays the slow section of Vittorio Monti’s Csárdás to set the scene in which a young couple with their baby leave their family and friends in search of a better life. They journey to Ireland across land and sea borders. The music changes to ‘Raglan Road’ as the couple settle into Ireland and learn the traditions and customs of the country. Later the couple take a trip home with their daughter now grown into a little girl, and ‘Raglan Road’ has also gone through quite the transformation. As the family are reunited, they share stories and admire their granddaughter. Music is the background to the lives of these people and is also the backdrop of our own lives. It travelled with the family despite the physical borders they encountered, and music accompanied the varied emotions they felt. Music is with us in times of great sorrow and in times of celebration, as music has no borders.

Entry

‘Musical Journey’, performed by the 40-strong Bunscoil Loreto Orchestra (Senior Infants – Sixth Class).

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Carnaross National School, Kells, Co. Meath

In addition to curricular music, each class in Carnaross National School (152 students) has additional tuition in both tin whistle and bodhrán from a visiting teacher, and there is also weekly choir practice. A number of musical events take place each year, including monthly ‘Musical Moment’ informal concerts, in which participants from all classes perform for an audience of students and staff. Carnaross National School would use a Music for Schools Competition prize to introduce a new instrument, possible ukulele, in the school, as well as to purchase additional percussion instruments and possibly a sound system.

Addressing this Year’s Theme

Through individual and class brainstorming and discussion, the group decided to focus on the idea that there are no restrictions in music – fast or slow, loud or soft, high or low, unison or harmony, rock or church, happy or sad. They also identified areas – often associated with figurative and literal borders, such as races, nationalities, countries, religions and beliefs, emotions and feelings – where they felt that music would promote unity , expression, admiration, enjoyment, celebration and respect. They decided to convey their message with a range of music, starting with ‘Equinox’ (composed by their teacher Helen Sherlock), a piece that focuses on the links between paganism and Christianity in early Ireland; then ‘Críost Liom’ (St. Patrick’s Breastplate), which may have had its origins in pre-Christian Ireland; then ‘The Harmony March’ (composed by tin whistle and bodhrán teacher Harry Long), a celebration of harmony and peace between Ireland and Northern Ireland and England; and finally ‘Music Makes It All Worthwhile' by local band Ham Sandwich, changing the song’s lyrics, with the band’s permission, to express their theme.

Entry

‘Music Makes It All Worthwhile’, performed by the 30-strong Carnaross National School Fifth & Sixth Class Group.

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Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin, Leitir Ceanainn, Co. Dhún na nGall

Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin (430 students) provides a wide range of extra-curricular music tuition for its students before school, after school and at lunchtime. The school’s board of management helps to finance this tuition, and the school also works with the Donegal Music Education Partnership and Ceol na Coille, a school of Irish traditional music, to provide it. Adhamhnáin offers several ensemble opportunities for its students, including a Junior Grúpa Ceoil, Senior Grúpa Ceoil, Ballad Group, Pop Group and School Choir. Whenever possible, the school provides instruments to students at no cost, and Cumann na bPíobairí in Donegal has loaned ten sets of uilleann pipes for students to learn. Gaelscoil Adhamhnáin would use a Music for Schools Competition prize to expand its instrument bank and provide both staff and students with additional music resources – as well as to highlight the school’s musical achievements both locally and nationally.

Addressing this Year’s Theme

Before any instruments, vocals or notation were introduced, the students were introduced and got to know each other as group members – a crucial exercise, as many of them would not ordinarily mix as friends in or outside school because of different classes, ages and social circles. The group were asked to contemplate the competition theme, look at the individual members, think of their local area, think of Donegal, think of Ireland and then think of all of these in the context of the larger world we live in. A quotation from the great American arts advocate Charles Fowler was then read: ‘The greatest gift one people can give to another is to share their culture…. To share artistic creations across cultures is to share our deepest values.’ The entry piece was developed in parts, beginning with a ‘chant’ style song entitled ‘Dún na nGall’, which the students composed with the help of their musical director. More discussion brought up the idea of Canadian geese, annual visitors to Donegal, and how freely they can come and go, so the group researched a Canadian jig and put together a dance for the tune. The group then developed the idea splitting into two and walking to a ‘border’ visualised by a divide in the groups, who sing the Proclaimer’s song ‘500 Miles’, with new lyrics (in Irish) express the children’s perspective of growing up in a multicultural society. For the next section, they researched appropriate song lyrics, poems, quotations, etc. and agreed that the lyrics of ‘From a Distance’ by the American singer-songwriter Julie Gold best expressed their vision: ‘From a distance we are instruments / Marching in a common band / Playing songs of hope, playing songs of peace / They are the songs of every man.’ For the finale, a past pupil and former Waltons Music for Schools Finalist suggested the song ‘Music’ by Madonna, which includes the significant line: ‘Music makes the people come together.’

Entry

‘Saol Gan Cheol, Saol Gan Anam’ (A World without Music Is a World without Soul), performed by the 40-strong Meitheal group (Fourth – Sixth Class).

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Gaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan, Aonach Urmhumhan, Co. Thiobraid Árann

Every Second – Sixth Class student in Gaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan (220 students) takes part in a weekly Banna Ceoil na Scoile, and the school also has a thriving Ceolfhoireann na Gaelscoile, as well as junior and senior choirs, playing and singing music of all genres. All children in the school, from Senior Infants up, learn tin whistle, and students play a wide range of instruments for the Banna Ceoil. Aonach Urmhumhan has also compiled its own school music book with Banna Ceoil pieces suitable for Junior Infants to Sixth Class, as well as a songbook entitled Canaimis le Chéile that includes traditional Irish songs, pop songs, Christmas carols and hymns. Although most student instruments are purchased by parents, the school also has a selection of percussion instruments freely available to students. Gaelscoil Aonach Urmhumhan would use a Music for Schools Competition prize to develop a rental scheme for instruments in order to broaden the scope of their orchestra, including violas and perhaps a double bass.

Addressing this Year’s Theme

The group brainstormed the theme in the context of an Irish language school and decided to show how music transcends languages and genres in unifying children. The piece begins with two separate groups – Irish traditional and classical – playing and singing ‘It’s a Small World’ in German, French, English and Irish. The students then come together during their version of The Beatles’ ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’. The classical group then starts playing Pachelbel’s Canon, and the traditional group responds by playing Eileen Ivers’ ‘Canon Frolics’. The two groups then unite to play The Farm’s ‘All Together Now’ and finish with Seo Linn’s ‘Ar Scáth a Chéile’ (Working Together), which includes African lyrics.

Entry

‘Ar Scáth a Chéile – United We Stand, United We Play’, performed by the 40-strong Grúpa Ceoil na Gaelscoile (Senior Infants – Sixth Class).

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Scoil Chaitríona Senior, Renmore, Co. Galway

A DEIS school, Scoil Chaitríona Senior (380 students) seeks to provide rich and diverse musical experiences for its students, both individually and collectively. The school has limited funds available from the Department of Education but stretches them to include a school choir and marching band, as well as tuition in singing, percussion, tin whistle and other instruments. Performing groups from the school have a tradition of bringing soulful performances to the public at events such as performing in Galway Hospice and the lighting of the Christmas tree in University Hospital Galway. In December 2015, the school launched ‘The Anthem of Scoil Chaitríona’, composed by choral director Anne Flaherty, with lyrics encapsulating the sense of belonging and respect for different traditions, as well as the understanding that students are making new traditions as they learn and grow together. Scoil Chaitríona does not have privately funded music lessons and would use a Waltons Music for Schools Competition prize to develop these and provide its students with a wider range of musical experiences.

Addressing this Year’s Theme

Scoil Chaitríona students come from a wide variety of cultural and ethnic backgrounds. It is also the only school in Connacht with a Deaf Unit for children with profound hearing Impairment. Although the children in this unit integrate with classes for many subjects, it can still be difficult for them, so the group decided to use music as a tool for integration. The songs they chose are Cyndi Lauper's ‘True Colours’, Bob Marley's ‘One Love’ and ‘World in Union’ – selected for their musical diversity as well as appropriateness to the theme. The hearing-impaired pupils and hearing-impaired SNA, along with the class teacher, taught the children to sign every word of the songs, and this became second nature to the children involved. The merging of two unique languages, music and ISL (Irish Sign Language) was a positive and empowering journey for the students.

Entry

‘Music Has No Borders’, performed by the 39-strong Heart of Renmore group (Third – Sixth Class).

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St. John's National School, Breaffy, Co. Mayo

With the aim of making children’s musical experiences as diverse and rich as possible, St. John’s (431 students) offers a range of music options for students in addition to curricular music, including tuition in fiddle, banjo, mandolin, button accordion, piano accordion, tin whistle, flute and guitar. Children are also involved in the National Children’s Choir, and they sing and play competitively in Scór and the Fleadh Cheoil. During the summer they take part in weekly Oíche Cheoil sessions with one of the teachers and other local traditional Irish musicians in Breaffy House Hotel. Children also learn such céilí dances as ‘Ballaí Luimní, Ionsaí na hÍnse’, as well as the older, traditional sean-nós dances. Contemporary music is also a popular choice, as are the musicals performed each Christmas. St. John’s would use a Music for Schools Competition prize to purchase a PA system so that the students can get used to setting up microphones and speakers and possibly creating trad/pop/rock band.

Addressing this Year’s Theme

A DEIS school, St. John's has many students of diverse ethnicities and cultural backgrounds attending, and the Le Chéile group is a microcosm of the school’s community – with solo vocalists from the Traveller community and Pakistan, and dancers from Lithuania and Latvia. However, all the children and teachers are very proud of the fact that Mayo is a county steeped in traditional Irish music, and they sought to build on that tradition and use the Competition as a catalyst for musical interaction and exploration. The pieces chosen include the air ‘Molly McAlpine’, followed by ‘The Foggy Dew’, telling the tale of Irish nationalism and British Imperialism. This is followed by ‘Mick Fadian’s March’, composed by Des Cafferkey from Achill Island about the legendary local piper Mick Fadian. The group then plays the lively jig ‘Amach San Fharraige’ (Out on the Ocean), reflecting their sense of place and physical landscape as a county situated on the Atlantic Ocean, followed by ‘Mawla Ya Sali Wasalim’, a traditional Arabic air about peace and love. Their entry finishes with ‘What a Wonderful World’, followed by students from different ethnic backgrounds addressing us in their native language.

Entry

‘Gan Teorainn’ (No Borders), performed by the 37-strong Le Chéile group.

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