House Singing traditionally rounds off the Hilary Term each year with our pupils, in their respective boarding houses, showing off their singing talents in the most entertaining fashion. This year was another hotly contested competition with the standard of singing, dancing and all-round entertainment extremely high – the noise almost blew the roof off the BSR at one point! Inter-house competitive reaches new heights during House Singing with every house (and secretly every Housemaster) keen to take home the trophy. This year the bragging rights went to Glen, and for the second year running, but there was only 1 point between the top three houses after the judges had completed their adjudications. A sincere thank you to the judges on the night – Mr. Girdham, Ms. Kilfeather and Ms. de Fréin) and to the MCs Mr. Swift and Mr. Jones but the biggest thank you must go to the pupils – each and everyone of them – for their dedication and the incredible spirit and talent on show. Perhaps a special mention to the Form VI pupils who take charge of the organisation in each house, many of them day pupils who stayed long into the night preparing their charges! Here are a selection of photos from last night’s event, taken by Rev Owen, and click here to visit our Facebook page to see Glen’s reprise of their winning chosen song – a version of Breeze Blocks by Alt J. While you’re there why not give us a like!
We are nearly at the end of what has been quite a strange term. The term was short enough already, with plenty to pack in, without the flu epidemic in the first half and the Beast from the East, together with Storm Emma, after the mid-term break. That caused great disruption and broke the continuity of teaching and exams, but at least we managed to keep going, albeit in a limited way. I am very grateful to house staff and their tutor teams for managing to keep their charges happy, as well as fed and watered, in part due to the heroic catering staff who trudged through the drifts when they could easily have stayed at home, because they were concerned about the welfare of the pupils. One of the maintenance team even came into work on his own tractor to help clear paths. On the Friday evening I went round all the houses to see how everyone was getting on and to make sure that everyone had enough to eat. Everyone seemed very happy and they had all fed well, even if there was a large emphasis on pasta. No one went hungry and I think most appreciated the efforts of the staff to look after them. A lot of the house staff also had their own children running around at home unable to get to school, to add to their stress.
I guess it would have been easy to moan and we all have a tendency to that at times. It made me think about the importance of being grateful for what we have as individuals and also as a community. If anyone doesn’t agree with me just turn on the news and see the suffering and the injustice out there. We are very blessed here.
There is a story in the gospels where Jesus meets ten lepers, outcasts from their community. They would not just be disfigured but they had to ring a bell wherever they went so that people could avoid them and they had to live in colonies outside of towns, so the disease destroyed every aspect of their humanity. These ten men came to Jesus begging for him to heal them. He sends them off to the high priest and as they go they all realise that they are healed. However, while nine of them rush off home, only one of them bothers to turn round and return to Jesus to thank him for having mercy on him. What is more it turns out that that one is a foreigner. The locals obviously didn’t think that they owed any anything to Jesus at all or even if they did they did not think to thank him. It is almost as if Jesus is saying that physical healing is one thing but unless your heart is also changed that healing is incomplete. Being grateful makes us better people and that is where the real healing happens.
My parents always made me write thank you letters after Christmas and, although I cursed them for it at the time, it was a vital lesson for me to learn. I think it is very important that our Columbans learn to be grateful for what they have and also to express it. We all know how it makes us feel when we are thanked, because it makes us aware that we are not being taken for granted. So I want to make a point of reminding the pupils to thank their teachers, the office staff, the catering staff, the cleaners, the nurses, the bus drivers, even the staff at Lidl’s. It does something to people when they are thanked and it does something to us too when we thank others.
The latest edition of the pupils’ magazine, The Submarine, is out now, and you can read it online via the English Department site here.
You can also listen to a clip of Rocket to Friday via Soundcloud below; James O’Connor is interviewed on pages 6 and 7 of the magazine, and Nevin McCone and Marcus O’Connor are also in the group.
Antonia Bullrich and Isabelle Townshend write short reviews on recent art gallery expeditions – the Grayson Perry exhibition at the RHA and the Emil Nolde exhibition at the National Gallery.
Last Thursday, the senior art pupils visited the RHA for the Grayson Perry exhibition. Grayson Perry is a British contemporary artist. He is known for his tapestries, vases and for cross-dressing. The exhibition is called The Vanity of Small Differences and it consists of six tapestries expressing modern life based on classical paintings. Perry is very interested in the emotional attachment we place on objects. The tapestries were hung up in a very spacious white room and each of the colors stood out individually. Each one told a story about the different social classes, and some harsh truths were depicted. As I walked around I realised each tapestry had small details that are hard to notice but they are exceptionally meaningful. When I gave each one of them a second look I noticed one or two new details I hadn’t noticed the first time around. Overall it was an amazing exhibition and we really enjoyed the day.
Last Thursday, the fifth and sixth form art pupils went to the Emil Nolde exhibition in the National Gallery of Ireland. Nolde was a German expressionist and at the time (1867-1956) which an attempt to creat a new style of painting. Nolde was so daring for his use of colours and topics that he painted. His paintings have a way of speaking to you in a way that I have never experienced before. For example in his self portrait of himself his piercing blue eyes feel like they are staring into your soul. The gallery was split into five sections ranging from paintings based on his homeland to when he went travelling. The most appealing section to me was called ‘conflict’ in which he painted his view on religious events which would have been really outrageous at the time. My favourite painting has to be Nolde’s interpretation of Adam and Eve, the use of colours and form of Adam and Eve is really interesting to look at. I would recommend this exhibition to anyone.
Jeanne Levesque reports on the recent Sculpture in the Garden Exhibition in the Warden’s Garden – an Arts Week event.
In October, the Form V art class went on a trip to The Botanic Gardens, to see the “Sculpture in Context Exhibition”. Our task after this trip was to create our own exhibition in the Warden’s Garden for Arts Week 2018. Each of us had to come up with our own unique idea and create a sculpture. We had to plan our sculptures carefully, and we had to think about what materials we could use to ensure our sculptures would survive outside in rain, wind (and snow!) so in other words, Irish weather! We all had to think carefully when choosing where to place our sculptures as we had to make sure they would be visible to the people walking past the exhibition. Our trip to The Botanic Garden gave us lots of inspiration for our sculptures. For this project, each of us had to make two development A2 sheets to show how we designed our sculptures from start to finish and what challenges we faced during the project. The human form was an inspiration for many of the works. Identity was another common theme. For my project I constructed three giant rabbit heads in geometric form to hang on the garden wall. We spent almost a term on this project. It was really fun and we learned new skills and techniques that will help our future artwork.
Last week was ‘Seachtain na Gaeilge’ – where pupils and staff celebrated of the Irish language and culture. Below is a short report, as Gaeilge ages as Béarla from our Head of Irish Alison Maybury.
SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE
Cheiliúramar “Seachtain na Gaeilge” sa tseachtain roimh Lá Fhéile Pádraig. Seans a bhí ann do na daltaí a labhraíonn Gaeilge spórt agus spraoi a bheith acu trí mheán na teanga agus bhí deis ag daltaí eile taithí a bheith acu ar chultúr na hÉireann.
Eagraíodh imeachtaí éagsúla sna ranganna Gaeilge. Bhain daltaí an-taitneamh as a bheith ag cleachtadh damhsaí nua-aimseartha (mar is léir ón bhfíseán gearr de dhaltaí ón Idirbhliain ag foghlaim na ngluaiseachtaí don “Dreoilín”!) agus roinnt de na seandamhsaí freisin. Chan siad amhráin, arís idir shean- agus nua-aimseartha, agus chuaigh siad san iomaíocht a chéile le tráth na gceist. Bhailigh daltaí le chéile sa tob-Ghaeltacht ag am lóin i rith na seachtaine chomh maith le haghaidh comhrá agus spraoi. Chuir daltaí ón Idirbhliain isteach ar thráth na gceist Gaeilge agus tá siad ag súil le ticéid a bhuachan don fhéile ceoil “Groove” i dTeach Chill Ruaidhrí.
Bhí fuaim iontach treibheach le cloisteáil ar an Máirt nuair a d’fhoghlaim daltaí ón réamhrang, Bliain I, II agus V conas an bodhrán (uirlis thraidisiúnta) a sheinm le Robbie Walsh ó The Bodhrán Buzz. Ghlac Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin agus Poppy Somerville páirt i gCraobh Náisiúnta Tráth na gCeist Boird i mBaile Átha Cliath an lá céanna. Níor bhuaigh siad ach rinne siad éacht dul chomh fada sin sa chomórtas!
Sa séipéal ar an gCéadaoin, sheinn André Stokes fonn traidisiúnta ar an bhfidil agus chan Emily McCarthy “Siúil, a Rún”. Léigh Kate Higgins agus Cian Slyne na dánta “Sneachta” agus “Mise Raifteirí” agus chan Aurora Higgins-Jennings aistriúchán den amhrán “Your Song” le Elton John, á tionlacan féin ar an bpianó. Chan daltaí ón réamhrang agus Bliain I “Amhrán na gCupán”, le Jamie Green agus Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin ag canadh na véarsaí. Rinne siad go léir éacht!
Bhí seans ag na daltaí sóisearacha a gcuid eolais (nó easpa eolais!) faoi Éirinn agus cultúr na hÉireann a thaispeáint i dtráth na gceist i Seomra Mór na Scoile oíche Dé Chéadaoin. Bhí an bua ag Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson agus Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez.
Bhaineamar go léir taitneamh as imeachtaí na seachtaine agus táimid ag tnúth le Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 cheana féin!
SEACHTAIN NA GAEILGE/IRISH WEEK
We celebrated “Seachtain na Gaeilge” in the week before St Patrick’s Day. It was a chance for the pupils who speak Irish to have fun through the medium of the language and an opportunity for other pupils to experience Irish culture.
Various activities were organised in Irish classes. Pupils really enjoyed learning modern dances (obvious from the short video of pupils from Transition Year learning the moves to “The Wren”!) and some of the old dances too. They sang songs, again both old and modern and they competed against each other in quizzes. Pupils got together in the pop-up Gaeltacht (Irish speaking area) at lunch time during the week for conversation and fun. Pupils from Transition Year entered an Irish quiz and they hope to win tickets to the music festival “Groove” in Kilruddery House.
A wonderfully tribal sound was to be heard on the Tuesday when pupils from Forms Primary, I, II and V learned how to play the bodhrán (a traditional instrument) with Robbie Walsh from The Bodhrán Buzz. Nyla Jamieson, Henry Carroll, Éile Ní Chianáin and Poppy Somerville took part in the National Table Quiz Final in Dublin the same day. They didn’t win but they did great to go so far in the competition!
In Chapel on Wednesday, André Stokes played a traditional air on the fiddle and Emily McCarthy sang “Siúil, a Rún”. Kate Higgins and Cian Slyne read the poems “Sneachta” and “Mise Raifteirí”. Aurora Higgins-Jennings sang a translation of “Your Song” by Elton John, , accompanying herself on the piano. Pupils from Forms Primary and I sang “The Cup Song” with Jamie Green and Tadhg Rane Ó Cianáin singing the verses. They all did really well.
There was a chance for junior pupils to show their knowledge (or lack of knowledge!) about Ireland and Irish culture in a quiz in the BSR on the Wednesday evening. Harry Petch, Boris Shvalov, Poppy Gleeson and Elena Diaz-Leanta Sanchez won.
We all enjoyed the week’s events and we are looking forwards to Seachtain na Gaeilge 2019 already!
Arts Week finished on a high with three big events – the Poetry Slam final on Friday night, Arts Prize evening with Joy Gerrard on Saturday and on Sunday the Music Prizes with Karen Ní Bhroin.
Jasper Bark did an amazing job of revving up the second and fifth form audience to support their peers in reciting poems which varied from work by William Blake and Edgar Allen Poe to American Gangsta rap to poems that students had written themselves. All winners were decided by popular vote. There were three rounds – one for juniors and two for seniors. Oscar Sternberg won the junior section with a short rap that he had composed himself. In round one of the fifth form competition Grace Goulding won with a beautiful poem that she had written herself about her the relationship between her grandparents as her grandfather struggled with Alzheimers. Round two was won by Isabelle Townsend and Orla Conlon Batey with their brilliant performance of an American Gangsta rap. In the end it was Isabelle and Orla who came out on top as the final winners.
Saturday was another busy day with Thibault Loiez back doing more caricatures of students. All of these are now strung up across the dining hall for everyone to view! William Nathans gave a wonderful portrait drawing masterclass for senior students and parents. Everyone went away having spent a most enjoyable afternoon learning new things. Thanks to Antonia for sitting all afternoon – a few cups of coffee were needed to keep her awake!
Meanwhile Peter Watts and Derarca Cullen spent a frantic morning putting up all the artwork from the year in the BSR ready for Joy Gerrard to come and judge it in the afternoon. Joy exhibited some of her own work this time last year in the RHA in Dublin. In the evening she spoke about her journey as an artist and the work she has done from huge installations in public spaces in the UK to paintings in ink of protest crowd scenes around the world. The winners were then announced of all the various sections and were Jeanne Levesque, Nathalie Verwijs, Mona Lamotte O’Carroll, Emma Hinde and Thea Walsh.
The finale of Arts Week was a superb hour and a half of music. There were solo performances on the piano, violin, harp, clarinet and voice. It was heart warming to see the hours of practice that many had put in to reach such a superb standard. The winners were Nicole Dickerson (voice), André Stokes (violin), Tania Stokes (piano), Alex Lawrence (piano), Charlotte Klingmann (clarinet) and Emily Mc Carthy (voice)) although as Karen said she had a very tough time on selecting her final six.
All in all there was a wonderful buzz to the week with so many different things taking place and in the end it was the students themselves and their participation which made it so special. Below are the vast collection of photos from Arts Week 2018.
Yesterday Primary to Third Form had a fascinating morning with fantasy fiction writer Ruth Long (pictured with Jean our Librarian). It was a real insight into the mind of a writer and the process that a writer goes through to create a novel.
In the afternoon senior artists were treated to a visit to the Stoney Road studio in Dublin (see photos from the visit on our Facebook page here). It was a chance to observe the incredible skill involved in the print making process. Head of Art, Mr Watts is certainly now considering taking up print making in his retirement.
Today we have had both poetry workshops and electro pop workshops. Old Columban, Caroline O’ Neill, together with Cian spent the day working with a group of Fourth Form on producing their own music digitally. They shared the loops they had created at the Open Mic night. Mr Swift kicked off the evening with a song he had written followed by the talented James O’Connor also singing one of his own works.
Jasper Bark, performance poet and novelist surprised pupils in chapel with an unexpected promenade performance of one of his own poems. He went on to spend the morning first with second and then fifth form working on performing either poems they had written or ones they had chosen in preparation for the Poetry Slam competition on Friday night.
All in all a busy day.
Arts week kicked off yesterday with Thibault Loiez (former French teacher) returning to spend the afternoon doing caricatures of pupils. These will be strung up across the dining hall from tomorrow.
Sadly the opening of the Guest Artist exhibition scheduled for Monday night had to be cancelled as the snow meant no-one could get up to St Columba’s to hang the work on Thursday and Friday. We hope to put the exhibition on in May instead.
Today we had a fantastic day. Primary and First Form spent part of their morning with artist and astronomer, Deidre Kelleghan, learning more about the Apollo moon landing. Then on black paper with chalk pastels and using a couple of images as inspiration, they produced some wonderful drawings.
While this was going on we had eighty children from four primary schools arriving to take part in the Primary Schools Choral Day. They spent the day learning various everything from Shosholoza (a song in Zulu from South Africa) to a ‘mash up of some well known pop songs! The day finished with a fabulous concert featuring the visiting schools, our Junior Choir, Sine Nomine, various soloists and our male staff a capella quartet. A big thank you to Eunan MacDonald.
Our Fourth Form art students students enjoyed a workshop with one of the Stoney Road print makers.
Tomorrow (Wednesday) we host fantasy author Ruth Long who will share her work with Primary, First and Second years. We have the rescheduled concert with Mr McCarthy on the piano and Mr Finn singing in the Cadogan at 6.30pm. There is also a visit for senior pupil artists to Stoney Road print studios during the afternoon.
Despite the snowy weekend which put a bit of a dampener on the start of Arts Week things have definitely revved up!
Below are a selection of photos from the week’s events, which will update frequently as new photos are added.
I guess we will remember this academic year for Hurricane Ophelia, the Beast from the East and Storm Emma. It would be nice if we could also have a wonderful heatwave next term to round it off, but perhaps that is too much to ask. To be honest Ophelia was a bit of an anti-climax around here, bringing down a few branches and making a bit of a mess. However the Beast and Emma certainly did live up to their billing and last week was quite extraordinary. I think that it was the heaviest snowfall that I have experienced in my lifetime and, combined with the winds, we did have some remarkable conditions. Life in the College came to a standstill on the Friday, when the red alert was out, but other than that we ploughed on with our exams. The major issue was the lack of kitchen staff to prepare the food, but we managed, with a bit of ingenuity and a blitz spirit.
In times of adversity one finds out about community spirit. It was great to see the maintenance team still fighting their way into the College, clearing roads and gritting paths, while many of the kitchen staff also managed to walk in to make sure that the pupils were fed and watered. The house teams all pulled together and kept morale up, as was evident when I went round all the houses on Friday night and found the pupils cheerful and understanding.
A friend of mine runs a church in Rathmines and he has a wonderful story. On Saturday afternoon there was meant to be a wedding in the church, but the roads were so bad that most of the guests were potentially unable to get there under their own steam. There was a danger that the big day would be a huge disappointment. So that morning he went onto local radio and made a plea that if there were any listeners living nearby who had 4×4’s and would be prepared to run around the city collecting guests could they please come to the church. 15 4×4’s turned up, the Armada moved out over Dublin and the wedding went ahead, starting with a whiskey reception in the back of the church, with prayers and readings down by guests in wellies. He said it was one of the most memorable weddings he has ever been to or officiated at.
Things here are slowly getting back to normal, although our Arts Week has taken a bit of a hit, with a couple of key events having to be cancelled. There is still a lot going on. The snow is still lying deep on the pitches and we are still catching up on exams but no harm has been done and the pupils, the boarders at least, will probably have memories of the last few days for the rest of their lives. Seeing them sledging and snowballing and generally behaving like children was a great sight and hopefully a good reminder to them that there is plenty of fun to be had without social media.