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Irish Church Music Association's Summer School

Ten members of the Schola from St Joseph's Secondary School, Navan, Co. Meath attended this year’s Irish Church Music Association Summer School, in Maynooth participating in a wide range of events throughout the week.

This residential course in sacred music has attracted an increasing number of young people each year, and it was refreshing to see over two hundred people, from all walks of life and parts of the country, of all ages, come together to sing and learn new music for use in liturgy.

Pictured above the Schola taken place under the Directorship of Marty Haugen.

The course was led by Marty Haugen, one of the most widely-published composers of church music in the United States, whose music has found a home in communities worldwide. His music often features in Irish liturgies.

The ten students (pictured below) from Mercy Secondary School were Rachel Barrett, Cáit Cregan, Adele Crilly, Eimer Finn, Clodagh Herron-Rice, Brionna Meagher, Caroline Moloney, Gillian Moloney, Lorna O'Dea and Katie White and were accompanied by teachers Mr Burke, Mr Feeley and Ms Mhac an tSaoir.

The packed programme of events included Morning Prayer, Eucharist and Evening Prayer each day, with the girls singing solo several times, and acting as the schola for the verses of We Love this Place, the opening hymn for Thursday's Festive Eucharist.

Conducting and cantor workshops were the most popular with the girls, although they also attended tutorials in Irish language music and Special Choir.

The busy days were broken up with a variety of social events: walks in the beautiful surroundings of St Patrick's College, a table quiz on Wednesday evening, and on Thursday evening the participants joined forces with instrumentalists to sing Vivaldi's Gloria from scratch.

A thoroughly enjoyable week was had by all, tinged with a little sadness as the Schola bid farewell to Clodagh and Caroline, founding Schola members, who now move on to third level education.

The Irish Church Music Association Summer School takes place during the first week of July each year, and is a valuable opportunity for musicians from all parts of the country to meet and sing together, and to recharge their batteries during the summer months.

The association has a special focus on the promotion of works by Irish composers – this year new collections of music were launched by Ian Callanan and Fintan O’Carroll, and the week also afforded a premiere of two new hymns by Meath composer Ephrem Feeley.

The Diocese of Meath was well-represented too, with participants coming from Ashbourne, Ballsgrove, Kilbeggan, Navan, Summerhill, Trim and Tullamore.

For more information, see the website of the Music Department at St Joseph’s Secondary School at www.musicatmercy.weebly.com or the Irish Church Music Association’s website at www.irishchurchmusicassociation.com.