The school rugby season is under way with training taking place on Mondays, Thursdays, Saturdays and alternate Wednesdays. The first games of the season have also taken place, with some of our pupils experiencing their first taste of competitive rugby.

This year the Senior XV are being coached by Corry McCarthy and Andrew Mitchell, with the guidance of Graham Dean as the strength and conditioning coach. So far they have had two matches – a home friendly against St. Michael’s Senior 3rds and their first league game away to Sandford Park. St. Michael’s were a well-drilled and technically gifted side and they really attacked SCC out wide. However, St. Columba’s put in a spirited performance and perhaps the final score flattered the visitors slightly – 27-3 to St. Michael’s. The Seniors played their first league match on Wednesday last – away to Sandford Park – and it couldn’t have gone better. They defeated Sandford Park with the impressive score of 53-5 away from home.

St. Columba’s first try came from the first lineout of the match, with Max Hopkins touching down to make it 5-0. Callum Pery Knox Gore couldn’t convert on this occasion. Henry Carroll scored the second try in the left corner before Callum Pery Knox Gore trusted his own ability and dotted down under the posts for a fine individual try, which he converted to make it 17-0. There was still time for two further tries in the first half, with Douglas Boyd Crotty securing the four try bonus point with an excellent run and step to put SCC up 22-0. Esosa Eronmwon scored the fifth try with a strong angular run to score under the posts. Callum slotted the conversion and the half ended with SCC in a commanding 29-0.

The second half started in a similar manner to the first with Douglas Boyd Crotty scoring another excellent try in the corner. At this juncture, the coaches emptied the bench and allowed some of the newcomers to rugby to get their first taste of the sport. However, SCC never lost their shape and maintained their dominance in the match. Hopkins scored his second of the day to put St. Columba’s up 39-0 before Aifo Ebeleghe got in on the try scoring. Hopkins wrapped up his hat trick when he dived on a loose ball, with Ivan Moffitt slotting the conversion. Sandyford grabbed a late consolation try at the end but St. Columba’s ended with a 53-5 bonus point win. A good day at the office.

The JCT’s first match of the season was a tricky league match against Sandford, but at home. Things didn’t go well initially and some slopping defending allowed Sandford take a commanding 26-0 lead after 20 minutes. However, St. Columba’s showed great heart and clawed their way back into the game, dominating the second half. Thady McKeever got the first try, which he also converted, before Sam Lawrence grabbed a brace of tries. Sandyford lost their composure and discipline and the referee issued a number of yellow cards. SCC capitalised on their numerical advantage. Matthew Russell scored St. Columba’s fourth try, which McKeever converted, securing a bonus point 26-26 draw. A superb performance considering the poor start.

The other rugby teams have yet to play their first competitive matches but are being put through their paces in training by their coaches. The Ducks, our Form I boys, are showing some good potential while there is some good players in Transition Year who will use this year to improve their overall skills. In conclusion, we look forward to an exciting, fun, safe and competitive rugby season ahead and wish all our players and coaches the best of luck.

Recently the Warden, Mr Boobbyer, received a start of term message from Archbishop Desmond Tutu, the Nobel Peace Prize Laureate and anti-apartheid campaigner. It reads:

‘I want to wish you and all your school the very best for the future, to know that you and your staff are being given the opportunity to mould the lives of your charges. We hope that the pupils will look back on their time at St Columba’s as having contributed to who they have become, eager to serve their fellow human beings to the best of their ability.’

On Thursday 13th October the Walsh Memorial Concert will be held in the Chapel. This promises to be a lovely hour of music to recognise the contribution of the Reverend B.W.N. Walsh Memorial Fund which was set up in the name of our former Chaplain to upgrade the Chapel Organ. A plaque in memory of ‘Bert’ Walsh will be placed on the organ and unveiled at the concert.

All visitors from the Columban community and beyond it are welcome to join us in the College Chapel for the concert, which starts at 7.30pm. There is no charge for entry.

As well as soloists Colm Carey (organ) and Angela Hicks (soprano), the College Choir under the direction of Geraldine Malone-Brady will perform the choral works ‘Sheep May Safely Graze’ by J.S. Bach, Hewson’s ‘Let us Now Praise Famous Men’ and Mozart’s ‘Laudate Dominum’.

Our guest star, Colm Carey, enjoys a career as both concert organist and choral director, and is widely acknowledged as a characterful and inspiring performer.

Colm is one of a handful of distinctive concert organists who have set out to promote the instrument in a fresh way, widening its appeal through imaginative programming and stimulating outreach work. That he has emerged as a respected and acclaimed performer is testimony to his dedicated mission not only to champion the instrument’s remarkable breadth of repertoire but also to devise projects involving exciting performing and recording collaborations with other musicians.

Born in Dublin, Colm was a pupil at St Columba’s College, where he studied music and organ with David Milne before entering the Royal Academy of Music in London and subsequently the Conservatoire de Musique de Genève. Winning top performing awards with distinction at both institutions, his numerous appearances, both live and recorded, in the UK and Ireland, formed strong foundations for his subsequent solo performances in Europe, Australia, Canada and the USA.

As a recording artist, Colm has produced a number of solo and chamber CDs, and he was the featured organist on Paul McCartney’s classical album, Ecce Cor Meum, which premièred at the Albert Hall in London (available on DVD) and the Carnegie Hall in New York. His interpretation of Bach’s The Art of Fugue has been admired for its originality and scholarship.

From 2003 to 2016 Colm was Belfast City Organist. As well as giving many recitals on the Mulholland Grand Organ in the Ulster Hall, he performed many concerti – including Poulenc, Parker, Handel, Haydn, Rheinberger, Jongen, Leighton and Guilmant – with the Ulster Orchestra. Many of his performances from the Ulster Hall have been broadcast, and in 2005 he presented four programmes on the history of the organ for BBC radio. He has collaborated with many artists (especially brass players and singers) and organisations, and in June 2014 the international – Dublin based – PIPEWORKS Festival held the final of its competition in the Ulster Hall.

In addition to his freelance work, Colm is Master of Music of the Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London. Under his direction the choir provides music for the weekly services in the Chapels as well as for special events – including royal visits – in the two historic Chapels Royal. He has toured with the choir to South Africa, Italy and Ireland, and as well as releasing a CD of music inspired by the Psalms of David the choir has broadcast on several occasions, most notably to all the countries in the Commonwealth on Christmas Day 2011.

Colm’s interest in assuring programming that is imaginative and stimulating has led to the recent formation of the Odyssean Ensemble (which he directs) – a flexible group of musicians brought together by Colm to explore, through innovative projects and collaborations, the notion of music being a journey – a journey that challenges the listener and stimulates the mind, body and senses. Although still in its infancy, the group gave the opening concert of London’s Spitalfields Festival this summer to much acclaim.

Colm is delighted to be performing in the concert with the Choir of St Columba’s College, and his fiancée, Angela Hicks.
Follow Colm’s activities @colmcareymusic

Angela Hicks is a graduate of Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance which she attended with the assistance of scholarships from the Dame Susan Morden Trust and the Trinity Trust. She now enjoys a busy career as both a choral singer and soloist.

As a soloist, Angela is regularly invited to perform core oratorios with a variety of ensembles. She is also very active in chamber music, often performing cantatas and other smaller works accompanied by period instruments. She has also sung much contemporary repertoire and especially enjoys working directly with composers.

As a choral singer, Angela is a member of a number of leading UK groups including The Monteverdi Choir, Ex Cathedra and the choir of The Chapels Royal, HM Tower of London. She also sings, and plays celtic harp, with the leading medieval ensemble Joglaresa, directed by Belinda Sykes.

The funeral of Old Columban Orla McCooey will take place in the College Chapel at 2pm on Saturday 24th September.
Those attending are advised that there is likely to be a large attendance, and space is limited, and they should arrive in the College well in advance. May Orla rest in peace.

An Taisce’s Clean Coasts Big Beach Clean weekend took place on the 16th, 17th and 18th of September.

Last year nearly 800,000 volunteers in 94 countries removed 8,164 tonnes of marine litter from the world’s oceans.For the second consecutive year pupils from our Transition Year took to the beach at Sandymount on Sunday afternoon to participate in this international event. Braving the elements and heavy downpour midway through the afternoon, the 5 teams managed to collect 12 bags of general waste and 10 bags of recycleable material – including dog leashes, rope, rat traps, clothing, rugs and the usual plastic, paper and aluminium cans.Topping the poll for marine litter on the strand was interestingly and quite unusually socks!

Each team documented all litter collected and will follow up this week by compiling information and sending it into An Taisce for analysis. The teams worked tirelessly all afternoon and were rewarded with a trip to McDonald’s en route back to the College.

We look forward to welcoming pupils to the College for the start of the 2016-17 academic year.

Wednesday 7th September

12pm: Prefects meet Warden and Sub-Warden, Dining Room.

2.00-2.30pm: new pupils and their parents arrive, and go straight to Houses to leave luggage and meet House staff, followed by

Tea in the Dining Hall and Lower Argyle.

3.30pm: Warden addresses new pupils and their parents in the Big Schoolroom.

4pm: House meetings for new pupils and their parents (various locations).

5.30pm: Parents leave.

6pm: Supper for new pupils.

8.30pm: Returning pupils report to House.

Thursday 8th September

8.55am: First Chapel bell. Warden’s Assembly, followed by Chapel seating arrangements and then Chapel.

11.30am: Form administration classes, followed by lunch.

2pm: First classes (to 3.30pm).

3.35pm: Day pupils may leave.

Friday 9th September

Full school day.

Our annual Open Day this year is on Saturday 1st October. From 10am to 1pm the College will be open to prospective pupils (of any age) and their parents. No further invitation is needed: you just need to drive through the College gates and you will be looked after. Visitors will be taken on tours of the College facilities (including the grounds, the Chapel, Dining Hall, Library, Science Block, Art Centre and more) by pupils, and will be able to make further queries of teachers in the reception centre, the Lower Argyle. Any questions in advance of the Open Day can be made by contacting us.

We also have an Open Evening in the summer term – this year, on Thursday 18th May. This is a shorter event, and requires advance booking

No booking required: come to the Chapel from 6.30pm onwards (guided by pupils from entry); the tour and talk start at 7pm.

For the first time, the College will be open during Culture Night, the enormously successful annual event during which many places and institutions across the country open their doors to visitors for free. Our contribution will be a tour of the architectural and historical highlights of our school, given by the Sub-Warden Mr Julian Girdham, for an hour on the evening. Visitors are welcome to come to the school from 6.30pm (meeting at the Chapel; visitors will be directed there by pupils), with the tour proper starting at 7pm.

It will include the main buildings of historical interest, such as the 18th century main building, (Hollypark House), the Chapel, the Victorian Argyle Buildings, the work of the most distinguished Old Columban architect Richard Caulfield Orpen (including the Chapel Square and the Founders’ Building) and Robin Walker’s 1971 Science Block (which is currently undergoing a complete refurbishment). Visitors will learn about the College’s origins in the mid nineteenth-century, its turbulent early years, and its steady progress in the twentieth century.

Visitors should enter via the Main Gate and proceed to the roundabout at the Sports Hall, where they will receive further directions. See our location here, and our entry on the Culture Night website here.

All are welcome, and no booking is necessary.