First in Ireland for Our Lady’s at Walton’s Music for Schools Competition

Sheer delight, euphoria, elation are some of the words that come to mind when describing the news that Our Lady’s Secondary School choir had captured 1st prize in the Walton’s Music for Schools competition in Limerick on Tuesday 10th May.

This national competition which has run for 5 years requires schools to submit their entry in DVD form and it is from this that a school is chosen to participate.

From 1000’s of entries each year, Our Lady’s choir has been selected to participate every year since the inception of the competition. And to secure a 2nd placing and a 3rd placing for two years and a 1st, in four of the five years tells us something of the standard of Our Lady’s choir.

The choir in Our Lady’s holds a very special place in the hearts of the school community, from the highs of Awards nights to liturgies for families and friends, the OLSS choir always offers something really special.

And perhaps what is most special and striking is just how passionate, how involved and how much the choir themselves enjoy their performances.

Indeed this is what the adjudicators remarked on, Dr Gwen Moore of Mary Immaculate College andMícheál Ó Súilleabháin, Irish musician, pianist, composer, recording artist and academic, and holder of the Professorship of Music at the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance. “We were brought to tears by their performance and precision”

The 45-strong OLSS Performing Arts Group performed ‘The Freedom to Follow Our Dreams’, a dynamic and original response to the Competition’s theme

‘Why Music?’ The inclusive group, which includes students from First to Sixth

Year, worked with the school’s dedicated music teacher Cara Murray to create a piece that combined different music genres, including rap, in a compelling and cohesive performance.

The choir performed to a packed auditorium, enthralling the audience with their presentation of The Swallow by Joan Baez, Lose Yourself by Eminem, One Shot from the musical Hamilton and Beautiful Day by U2. They included a fusion of traditional tunes and tunes composed by their music teacher, and mixed in three different dance styles including Hip Hop, Contemporary and Irish Dancing.

On returning to the school, the choir were afforded a reception in the school gym where the entire school community assembled to welcome and acknowledge the achievements of the 45-strong choir. Having performed in the gym before their peers, the 700+ school community deservedly gave the choir a standing ovation.

Tributes were paid to the group on their commitment, dedication and hard work. Dynamic Music teacher, Ms Cara Murray was singled out for special mention with both management and the choir themselves remarking on her special skills as a leader and her remarkable ability to get the best out of everybody.

Speaking to the Principal of Our Lady’s Mr. Kelly in the aftermath of the success and celebrations he acknowledged the ‘ outstanding commitment and dedication made by Ms Murray and the choir and that their success in Limerick was a just reward for all their hard work and efforts and that this particular success ranks as one of the greatest achievements in the proud history of Our Lady’s.

He added that ‘the students in the choir were excellent role models for the younger students in the school and that as a school community we are not only justifiably proud of their success but that we could learn a lot from their honesty of effort and humility’.

Having won 1st prize in the Navan Choral Festival on the previous Friday, this remarkably talented group of young people do not rest on their laurels, they now look forward and are busy preparing for the Eisteddfod festival in Wales during the summer.

Sweet sweet music!