Throughout June, pupils have been challenged to recreate a famous work of art using the objects and people at home. It really captured the pupils’ imagination and the variety of submissions was amazing. The album below contains a large variety of the entries received. Well done to everyone involved!

The Form IV Art set had a busy Trinity term. Alice Letort explains the work they undertook over the past 6 weeks. 

The Form IV distance learning project this term was to create a ‘Virtual Wall of Tools’. The project comprised a number of steps. We started by learning the shape of tools by doing some blind line drawings as well as positive and negative space drawing. Then we studied Jim Dine, and his tool drawings before moving to the experimental printing section of the project. Jim Dine is an American Pop Artist. We were able to take inspiration from his black and white tool drawings. We all had great fun composing and printing the tools with shoe polish, paint, and any other material we could find at home!  Next, we started focusing on one tool by doing a detailed observational drawing. 

Now we were ready to start the final part of the project which lasted 2 weeks. It consisted of creating  3D tools with cardboard. We first had to plan the construction and then build them. It was a challenge to make the mechanism of the tools function but many of us achieved it. I created pruning shears in which the hinge fully functions!  When all of them were done, Ms Cullen created the ‘Virtual Tool Wall’.

I had a lot of fun this term trying all these new techniques, especially the experimental printing because I never practised it before. I also enjoyed building the 3D tool, it was fun and complex.

Our Sine Nomine choir are taking part in lots of international choir collaboration at the moment, and the latest track has just been released.

If you want your spirits lifted, listen to Andrea Baker leading the way with ‘Ain’t No Mountain’.

Form IV (Transition Year) Art pupils have been working on a portraiture-themed project throughout the Hilary Term. This began with a trip to the National Gallery of Ireland to see The Zurich Portrait Prize in late December. Pupils also researched a portrait artist of their choice and the range of artists chosen was wide and varied. This research, along with a number of drawing exercises, prompted and encouraged pupils through the concept and design phase of the creative process of portraiture. The pupils completed the final portrait in the medium of their choice. Enjoy the gallery below.

 

Members of the College “Virtual Alumni Choir” were on Scala Radio in the UK yesterday morning singing Vivaldi’s “Gloria” with Stay at Home Choir and members of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. Today they will begin the 2nd Stay at Home Choir project: “And So I Goes” by Billy Joel with The King Singers!

But what about our current pupils I hear you say? Well, Sine Nomine Competition Choir (pictured above at the recent Wesley Feis) members have been invited by Boston Children’s Chorus to collaborate with it and other choirs in a ‘Virtual Sing’ this weekend. They will sing a piece called “We Are One” by Brian Tate and they, and the College will be acknowledged for this contribution in a video. Incidentally, below are Sine Nomine members Tania Stokes and Josepha Westphalen receiving their 2nd place certificate at the Wesley Feis.

On Saturday the first rehearsal of the SCC Virtual Alumni Choir was held online, conducted by Mr McDonald. The choir intends to join the Stay at Home Choir will be learning and then performing singing Vivaldi’s great work Gloria. More to come…

On Sunday 1st March the late Christiaan Vis, former Head of Art at the College, was remembered in a celebratory event at Orlagh Estate. A large number of family, former colleagues, friends and former pupils attended.

Reverend Michael Heaney, former Chaplain at the College, thanked Hudia Vis and her family for inviting everyone, and then handed over to the Sub-Warden, Julian Girdham, who read out a series of comments from Old Columbans about the impact Chris had had on them: “His classes were the highlight of the week”, “His art classes to me meant freedom. Freedom of expression, to push boundaries, from the confines of the regulated SCC life”, “His sense of humour was wicked but kind”, “A great teacher, always honest and funny”, “An inspiration and a shepherd to me in my callow teenage years”, were typical of the comments.

Michael Heaney then read out a wonderful tribute from Tim Macey, former Warden (who could not be present), including these observations:
He was very respectful, welcoming and polite, yet I got the distinct impression that he was frequently having to suppress a little chuckle at the bizarre formalities of College life. In fact this ambiguity may have been at the heart of his great success as Art teacher at the College. He certainly had a great sense of humour and there must have been many occasions when it was badly needed.
and
He was wise and thoughtful, independent and sound in judgement, in every respect the mature senior member of staff, yet at any moment that impish teenager would reassert himself, to the amusement and enrichment of us all. I remember Chris with great respect as artist and teacher, with affection as colleague and with the warmest thanks for the laughter and colour that he brought into all our lives. To Hudia and to all those very close to him, I can barely begin to imagine your loss. I hope nevertheless that the warmth that we all feel in our memories of him, even those of us who did not know him really well, will stay with you always. He was a blessing to us all.

Michael Heaney followed up with prayers, and then there was a further tribute from OC Charlie Hackett, read out by artist Anthony Lyttle, and Chris’s daughter Grainne and son Leonard also spoke, thanking all for their kindness.

To get a good sense of Chris, check out the video interview below from the year 2000 by his colleague Morgan Dockrell, filmed by Garry Bannister.

 

The Playboy of the Western World is an ambitious play for Juniors to put on, set as it is in what is by now an alien culture for teenagers of the early 21st century, who have to speak in a language that is even more alien to them. However, Mr Jameson (who has himself performed in the play) is properly ambitious, and his cut-down version of John Millington Synge’s masterpiece told this memorable tale effectively in the BSR.

The bleakness of the Mayo shebeen was echoed in a bare set as Pegeen Mike (Daniela Nolan) opened the play showing her disdain for weedy Shawn Keogh (his personality embodied physically by Alex Hinde). The great moment when stranger Christy Mahon enters, nervous and quiet, claiming to have killed his father, was effectively played by Naoise Murray, and then built on by the locals played by Florian Zitzmann (Jimmy), Susan (Kate Higgins), Aedlagh Bradley-Brady (Nelly), Zofia Cannon-Brookes (Philly), Elizabeth Hart (Sara), Shannon Walker Kinsella (Honor) and pot-bellied Michael, Pegeen’s father (properly cheerful and self-centred as portrayed by Hal Somerville). Gradually Christy realises he is actually being seen as a hero striking back against authority, and, even better, Pegeen has an exciting alternative to Shawn Keogh. Naoise Murray conveyed this dawning discovery very well, and Emily McCarthy as the Widow Quin conveyed her own scepticism confidently. The cast was completed by Elliot Warnock as the Bell Man announcing Christy’s sporting success.

An even better moment is when Christy’s supposedly-dead father Old Mahon comes in, and Cameron McKinley brought renewed energy to the stage. Later, after he is ‘killed’ again, he repeated that entry crawling onto the stage, blood-spattered, head first, to the delight of the audience. The rest of the story played out as it should, with the audience divided between delight in Christy’s triumph and sympathy for Pegeen’s abandonment. Congratulations to all involved.

 

Photographs, below, by Daniel Owen.

 

Cast and Crew

 

Daniela Nolan: Pegeen Flaherty

Alex Hinde : Shawn Keogh

Hal Somerville: Michael James Flaherty

Florian Zitzmann: Jimmy

Zofia Cannon-Brookes: Philly

Naoise Murray: Christy Mahon

Emily McCarthy: The Widow Quin

Kate Higgins: Susan

Elizabeth Hart: Sara

Shannon Walker Kinsella: Honor

Aeladh Bradley-Brady: Nelly

Cameron McKinley: Old Mahon

Elliot Warnock: The Bell-Man

 

Production / direction: Evan Jameson and Humphrey Jones

Stage management, sound and lights: Ronan Swift

Set design: Derarca Cullen, Michael Keogh, Emma Hinde, Iona Chavasse, Avi Johnston, Edna Johnston

Costumes: Karen Hennessey

Make-up effects: Arizona Forde

 

Thanks to Donna and Ted Sherwood. 

 

The recent naming of the Art Centre as the ‘Patrick Scott Art School’ has provided great inspiration for Arts Week 2020. Arts Week organiser Mrs Cathy Boobbyer has teamed up with visual artist Yvonne McGuinness to plan an exciting week of events. From March 18th to 22nd there will be a number of artists visiting the College to carry out workshops with various year groups. There will be drama and music and there are plans for a collective art piece involving everyone!

Community Matters‘ will be the theme of the week. The College’s strong connection to Patrick Scott will anchor a number of the activities but there will also be an emphasis on our current community. Community is also the theme for the 2020 Art Prize brief. The brief has now been published and can be found here on firefly. Pupils can also get details on entering for the prize from Ms Cullen or Miss Murphy.

Preparation for the Art prize can begin immediately and entries must be submitted by March 19th.

Science teacher (and closet musical theatre fan) Humphrey Jones reviews last weekend’s performance of Grease.

I turned forty a few months back. Almost exactly one year earlier the movie Grease reached a similar milestone: it has aged far better than I have. The music still remains as catchy as ever and the dialogue is still relevant (to all audiences); it remains witty, more than a little bit rude, cheeky and full of innuendo. I have particularly fond memories of watching Grease as a young lad and aspiring to be as cool as Danny Zuko. I never was (and sadly never will be). The prospect of watching a school performance of this well-loved musical, I must admit, made me a tad nervous. How would a young cast, from Forms I right through to VI, do the classic songs, dialogue and dance routines any sort of justice? However, as it turned out, there was no need to doubt them.

The College production of Grease delighted and entertained. Performed over three cold November nights the young cast brought huge enthusiasm and energy to the stage. They sang their hearts out, danced with gusto and delivered their lines with perfect dramatic and comedic timing. As a full cast, they did remarkably well. My biggest disappointment with the original movie was that some of the characters were almost too cool, too gritty and were old beyond their years (the actors, of course, were much older than the characters they portrayed). The younger cast in this production softened the story a little which, in my opinion, was a good thing. I’m not sure if that was deliberate or not but deserved credit to the team of directors (Ronan Swift, Geraldine Malone Brady and Tristan Clarke) for nurturing the clearly natural talent of the young cast.

And what talent! The lead actors, Emily McCarthy (Sandy) and Marcus O’Connor (Danny), were both excellent. Emily’s powerful yet melodic voice perfectly suited the role and her performance of ‘Hopelessly Devoted to You’ was memorable. Marcus’s performance was natural and nuanced and it was clear he had studied Travolta’s Danny. They worked really well together, particularly as a singing partnership. It was hard to believe that they’re in Form III and IV respectively. No doubt we will see them on stage again in the coming years.

Jack Hayes (Kenickie), Abigail O’Brien (Rizzo), Songyon Oh (Marty), Peter Taylor (Doody), Leo Moreau (Sonny) and Sakhile Khumalo (Roger) were all perfectly cast and gave brilliant vocal performances. Imogen Casey (Frenchy) caught the naivety of her character superbly while Stella Jacobs (Jan) was energetic throughout (she even managed to do some cartwheels during the final number). Phoebe Grennell (Patty) was cast in her role just two weeks before the first performance but you would have never guessed; she was convincing and confident whenever she was on stage. Oscar Yan (Teen Angel) brought the house down with his rendition of ‘Beauty School Dropout’ (I still love the line “Missed your midterms and flunked shampoo”). The surprise packages were Alex Hinde (Eugene) and Nelly Ploner (Cha-Cha) who momentarily commanded the stage during their “dance” number (some say Alex may never recover). Nelly, it must be said, took a relatively minor character in the original production and brought her front and centre. As a whole, the school dance scene was brilliantly done and huge credit to Fearghal Curtis and Edel Shannon too for their clever and tight choreography of the hand-jive (and other dance numbers). All these young actors, it must be said, were supported by a strong ensemble of would-be ‘Pink Ladies’ and ‘T-Birds’. The whole cast performed with zest and without inhibition – again credit to the team of directors in facilitating this.

The cast were accompanied by an extremely slick live band and looked every bit the part thanks to Karen Hennessey and her team in the costume room. The set design was minimal with the colourful digital backdrops, projected onto the large screen behind the stage, more than adequately setting the scenes. The Art Department, in particular Lynn Murphy and her pupils, prepared some additional props including the famous Grease Lightning car. There were many more individuals involved in the production, far too numerous to mention here.

All in all, everyone involved in Grease should be extremely proud of their efforts. They took a challenging musical, with challenging themes, and more than did it justice. Everything about Grease was excellent: the music, the dancing, the singing, the acting. There have been some unforgettable College musicals in recent years (Oklahoma and Guys & Dolls come to mind) but Grease will live long in the memory for me, for many reasons. Vince Fontaine (played by Guy Fitzgibbon) famously says in GreaseIt doesn’t matter if you win or lose, it’s what you do with your dancin’ shoes”. This young cast clearly worked those dancin’ shoes: they were all winners!

Humphrey Jones (Teacher & closet musical theatre fan)

Julia Kaptein, Form V, reports on the recent art trip to the UNESCO World Heritage Site at Newgrange.

On October 19th, Saturday morning we left the school on a bus filled with V and VI Form Art pupils to go to the Boyne Valley. We arrived to the Interpretive Centre (currently undergoing renovations) where we met a shuttle bus which would bring us to our destination. Our first stop was Newgrange. Our guide showed us around and explained everything to us about the Newgrange passage tomb, a UNESCO world heritage monument. Through the narrow passage, we entered the grave. It is astonishing to think about the craftsmanship that was needed to build this structure. Looking up inside the passage tomb, we could see the corbel vaulting technique that was used to keep the grave dry inside. We walked around the outside of Newgrange and took a second shuttle bus that took us to Knowth. We were shown a short video about Knowth before we went inside the passage tomb. The Knowth monument was more decorated on the outside and surrounded by smaller tombs. We walked on top of the tomb and although the weather was not as beautiful as we hoped, the view was stunning and overlooked the entire Boyne valley. I think it was very helpful for all pupils to see and walk around the tombs rather than just learning from of our books. Visiting the site brought to life all that we had learned in the classroom. Many thanks to Ms. Cullen and Miss Murphy for organising this memorable trip. The excursion was very successful and a chance for us to learn outside of our classroom.

To celebrate the opening of the College’s new social and cultural centre, Whispering House, an exhibition of Leaving Certificate artwork from 2019 has been displayed. The artwork on display in Whispering House comprises the coursework elements completed by the Leaving Certificate candidates of 2019. Pupils had to produce two works of art for the coursework element, one craft and one imaginative composition. These entirely original works of art were conceived through the development of specific themes; ‘Balance’, ‘Indentation’ and ‘Familiar’.

Eight pupils sat the Leaving Certificate Art in 2019 and all at Higher Level. Their results were excellent – collectively they scored 718 points out of a potential maximum of 800! Two of the pupils have since gone on to study Art at third level.

The artwork was erected yesterday – see photos here.

Exhibitors:

Antonia Bullrich, Lucas Cho, Emily Devereux, Clara Eck, Florentine Kolb, Josephine Krieger, Jeanne Levesque, Isabelle Townshend

The Wesley Interschools Music Festival took place over the weekend with St. Columba’s pupils competing in a wide range of events, both as soloists and in groups. The big success came on Friday night when the senior chamber choir, Sine Nomine, took home the William J Watson Cup for Best Four-Part Choir. Sakhile Khumalo came second while Songyon Oh was ‘Highly Commended’ in the Popular Song prize. In addition, Oscar Yan, Imogen Casey, André Stokes and Tania Stokes were all awarded ‘Highly Commended’ in their respective competitions.

 

 

Elizabeth Hart, Form I, reflects on her experience in this year’s Junior Play.

The Junior Play this year was called The Happy Journey by Thornton Wilder. Emily McCarthy, Kate Higgins, Cameron McKinley, Wolfgang Romanowski, Malachy Murphy and I were the actors. Emily played the part of the mum, Cameron as the dad, Malachy as the son Arthur, and I played the daughter, Caroline. Wolfgang was “the stage manager” and Kate was Beulah, my big sister. This play was about a family going on a trip to visit the older sister in a neighbouring state of the USA. Later we learn Beulah had given birth to a baby, but the baby had died soon after it was born.

The Happy Journey operates as a play within a play (almost), so we all pretended to be actors performing. At the start we pretended to be preparing for the play and Wolfgang was telling us all to get ready. The only props we had in the play were four chairs which were our ‘car’. The rest were imaginary so we talked to imaginary people, pointed at imaginary billboards and Cameron turned an imaginary steering wheel.

We had about 3 weeks to prepare for the play and, at the start, it felt kind of relaxed. As the days went on, it got more serious as we got our costumes and learned the script by heart. Near the night of performing it became tenser and the practices became a lot longer.

On Thursday a couple of people came to watch the dress rehearsal and it was the first real audience we had. It was a bit nerve-wracking, but we didn’t mess up our lines or any stage directions.

Friday came and we were all nervous. When people started to come in there was loads of noise and suddenly I got really nervous. When I walked out on stage my legs were shaking and it was more muscle memory than anything else that got me through to the end. It is a short play so it passed by very quickly. The actual performance only felt like 5 minutes!

Saturday night came and I wasn’t as nervous as before, but I wasn’t exactly relaxed. We went through the play and when I said my last line and ran off the stage it felt really good. When Emily and Kate came off, we went to the front of the stage, took our bow and we had finished the play completely.

Being in the play was a very good experience as it made me more confident in speaking in front of a crowd and was a bit of fun. Our thanks to Mr Swift and Mr Jameson for directing it.

Below are a series of photographs, taken by Rev Owen, from the performance.

The Art Department has issued the themes for this year’s Art Craft & Photography Prizes, for both Junior and Senior pupils. The themes for this year’s prizes are JOURNEY and IDENTITY and a wide range of styles and techniques are welcome. This year’s competition will be judged by artist and Old Columban Conrad Frankel who will also speak on the night of the prize giving. One of his paintings is shown above.

Click here for full details of the brief, with useful tips for entrants.

On Friday, December 14th 2018 forty-five pupils, from Forms II to VI, along with six members of staff will head off to Copenhagen for the weekend on a short choir trip. The party consists of 27 girls and 18 boys, singing in a four-part choir. 

The highlight of the trip will be a concert performance in St. Ansgar’s Cathedral on Saturday December 15that 6pm. The programme is an entertaining mixture of Irish folk songs, popular songs, spirituals and madrigals. On Sunday morning the choir will sing a Mass by Palestrina at the 10am service in the same cathedral. 

The trip will also include a Canal Tour of Copenhagen, a visit and dinner at the famous Tivoli Gardens, and a visit to the renowned National Aquarium. There will also be time to savour the atmosphere of the Christmas Markets in Copenhagen. The choir have been rehearsing very hard since September, and we hope it will be a memorable trip!

Transition Year pupil Elise Williams writes about last year’s Junior Certificate Art Projects, which will be on display in the BSR this Sunday after the Christmas Carol Service.

Last year, Form III art pupils undertook the Junior Certificate Art Project. The projects were based on a theme of which there were five to choose from. The themes we were given were broad, but we could expand on them and each create our own version of the topic. The projects were very much centered around the preparatory sketches, the work that was put into planning them, and brief explanations for the thought processes. 

The course required three art pieces, three preparation pieces to support each one, two supporting pieces, and two one-hour long drawing exams. There was a 3-D construction or sculpture, a 2-D painting or design, and an option to do a craft piece with choices to use calligraphy, puppetry, batique, a lino cut, woodwork, etc. My class seemed challenged not by the projects themselves, but the pressure to complete them in the frame of time given. 

An important part of the course was to show how our work developed and how new ideas generated over time. In addition to our three projects, we completed an hour-long  drawing exam of a still life and a second exam  which required us to draw a model from life. 

We all worked hard on our projects and as the due date came closer we became more satisfied with the results of our work. It was a good experience that taught me creating art takes time and a lot of work because it is not just the art, but the ideas behind it. 

This Sunday December 9th, there will be an exhibition and opportunity to view our work displayed in the BSR after the evening of the Carol Service. We hope to see you there! 



The performances of this year’s Senior Play, The Nose, take place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday this week in the BSR, starting every evening at 7pm. The Nose is a satirical short story by Nikolai Gogol written during his time living in St. Petersburg. During this period, Gogol’s works were primarily focused on surrealism and the grotesque, with a romantic twist. Written between 1835 and 1836, The Nose tells the story of a St. Petersburg official whose nose leaves his face and develops a life of its own…this version was adapted for stage by Tom Swift and first staged in Dublin in 2008. This year’s play is directed by Ronan Swift.

Cast

  • Major Kovalyov – Caoimhe Cleary
  • The Nose/Smirnov – Daniel Ayoade
  • Father – Eile Ni Chianain
  • Podtochina – Oda Michel
  • Olga, her daughter – Charlotte Moffitt
  • Governor Rachkin – Maybelle Rainey
  • Katerina, his daughter – Dimitro Kasianenko
  • Ivan, the barber – Avouka Assebian
  • Praskovya, his wife – Sveva Ciofani
  • Policeman – Elise Williams
  • Small Ads Clerk – Margot Aleixandre
  • Reporter – Aiyuni O’Grady
  • Surgeon – Sinead Cleary
  • Theatre Nurse – Raphaela Ihuoma