THE boys of Portarlington BNS recently made the top six finalists in Ireland in the Waltons Music for Schools Competition. This is a national competition and celebration of music in Irish schools.
The competition awards a total of €10,000 worth of vouchers for musical instruments, accessories, books, music technology or PA equipment from Waltons Music, to be divided among the winners. The six primary school finalists and post-primary finalists had the opportunity to play in the National Concert Hall on April 8.
St Patrick’s BNS has a strong voluntary taught, extra curricular music programme with drums and accordion tuition weekly, tin whistle taught to all boys in school music lessons, a 56 member Marching Band and a 75 member choir.
The school endeavours to have the children bring their music to the community through events such as the St Patrick’s Day parade and carol singing. Their philosophy is to make music accessible to all, in keeping with this they have just initiated The Music Box programme – a music programme for children with special needs.
The band have lots of plans to expand more in the coming months. In November, the school principal Pat Galvin, band co-ordinator Neasa Garry and Adam Maher a 5th class pupil submitted a recording of what music means to them in their school.
In January, Ms Garry recorded the boys playing a tune and this was submitted as their entrance to the competition. They were thrilled and excited when they heard on Lyric FM that their school had made it to the final. Staff at the school said that it was such a wonderful opportunity for the boys of Portarlington to play in the National Concert Hall and an unforgettable experience for all.