Standing ovation for Clonmel's Ss Peter and Paul’s Primary School at gala concert

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Clonmel's Ss Peter and Paul’s Primary School celebrated the 25th anniversary of the school band with a gala concert recently.

Parents, families and loyal supporters turned out in great numbers to enjoy a feast of music featuring the junior and senior bands, school choir, three ukulele orchestras and an ex-members band.

The excitement was palpable as crowds stepped through the doors and revelled in 200 performers delivering in style. MC Eddie Kearney introduced each performance and the junior band were first to take the stage. They entertained with a selection of familiar tunes and impressed the audience with their confident performance which was acknowledge with well-deserved applause.

The 4th class ukulele orchestra then took the stage and played ‘Home on the Range’ and ‘Cockles and Mussels’, encouraging the audience to sing along. The boys had just completed their first year of ukulele lessons with teacher Jimmy Fenlon and are looking forward to taking part in the school’s Uke Factor for the first time.

The 5th class ukulele orchestra gave a polished performance of ‘Count on Me’ and ‘Viva la Vida’ under the direction of Laura Ryan. The progress they have made since last year was clearly evident. The boys exited the stage with military precision to make room for 6th class who were not planning to be outperformed by any other group, These boys showed their versatility with a fine performance of ‘Carrickfergus’, followed by the ‘Cups Song’ in both English and Irish with choreography by Kamil and Jimmy.

Ss Peter and Paul's pupils were outstanding in concert. 

The 3rd to 6th class choir sang three beautiful arrangements. Soloists Tadhg and Joey tugged at heartstrings with their delivery of ‘Queen of the May’. The ‘Lava Song’ was familiar to many of the audience members and the arrangement of ‘Heal the World’ appealed hugely to the audience and it was clear that the choir enjoyed singing it too.

It was hard to imagine that this performance could be surpassed until the senior band took the stage. It was their day of celebration and they were ready to enjoy it! Under the watchful eye of the ex-members they performed with skill and confidence. They had prepared well and the audience was in no doubt when they heard the opening bars of ‘Another One Bites the Dust’. Soloist Killian Owens showed his prowess on saxophone and the boys concluded with one of their favourite tunes, ‘Raiders March’.

Ex-members of the CBS band who currently perform with Banna Chluain Meala were delighted to be back in familiar territory. Under the direction of Peter Taylor, they gave a dazzling display. Younger audience members particularly enjoyed ‘Beauty and the Beast’, while the entire trombone section featured in ‘Basin Street Blues’.

The highlight of the day had to be the combined forces of the senior band and ex-members. Opening with ‘Superheroes r Us’, they certainly performed like superheroes. It was scarcely credible that some of these performers were only in 4th class.

MC Eddie Kearney spoke about the achievements of the band over the years. He acknowledged the contribution of many staff members who contributed to a great gala concert. Events like this could not happen without the behind the scenes work of many staff members. Supervising pupils, organising equipment and assisting with rehearsals are all vital elements in bringing performances like this to fruition.

The benefits to children of learning an instrument are well documented, in terms of cognitive development, behaviour and social development. The highly successful music programme in Ss Peter and Paul’s, driven by the principal and musical director Yvonne Moran, ensures that every pupil in the school has an opportunity to learn an instrument. Yvonne acknowledged the dedicated, enthusiastic contribution of Peter Taylor to the school’s music programme.

The evening concluded with the combined bands performing the theme tune from Game of Thrones. The amazing sound that echoed through the walls of the school filled all who have been associated with Ss Peter and Paul’s band for the past 25 years with great pride and inspiration for the future.

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