Timahoe National School has always enjoyed a fabulous and well-deserved reputation for arts education.
And since renowned musician Ann Bergin took over as principal three years ago, the school’s music and performance programme has scaled new heights.
As well as putting on awe-inspiring Christmas pageants and carol services, pantos and St Patrick’s Day concerts, an innovative string-instrument tutoring programme has been run at the school.
While this involved taster-sessions in cello through Music Generation, and Guitar classes for senior students, the jewel in the crown is undoubtedly the hugely successful and ever-growing Violin tuition programme.
Under the expert tuition of violinist extraordinaire John Davidson, the musical journey began two years ago with much appreciated help from the Parents Association who funded the purchase of violins.
While the in-school tuition is optional, there has been a tremendous uptake, with over 50 children taking weekly lessons. Proud parents gathered in the school hall last week for the end of year violin recital given by all their mini-maestros.
Senior Infants played ‘Merrily’ followed by the the first to third class thirty-five-strong ensemble‘s performance of ‘Mornington Ride’.
A very exciting development in this year’s programme was three senior students taking their Associated Board Grade 1 exams at the Laois School of Music. They came through those exams with flying colours and John Davidson presented them with their certificates at the recital.
The pupils, Heather Bennett, Cillian Moran and Béibhín O’ Driscoll, delighted their audience with exam-pieces ‘Pennsylvania 5 6,000’ and ‘Mattchins’.
This school year saw yet another initiative developed to include an adult violin group in the programme.
Parents have been attending classes at the school throughout the year, and they too got to perform at the concert.
Maureen Daly, Matt McGrath, Jennifer McKittrick and Liz Ramsbottom performed ‘Inisheer’ for a very appreciative audience. This group, including Sarah Osbourne, were also part of the First Communion choir in St Michael’s Church, Timahoe on May 24. Principal Ann Bergin was delighted to acknowledge the progress made by the children and adults.
Thanking everyone, she pointed out that the classes with John were enjoyable for all, developing a love for music-making and a deeper appreciation for music itself.
“It was great this year to be able to offer our students the choice of participating in a thoroughly enjoyable process, or to become more focussed on outcome by taking up the examination process. Winners all round!”