There is a wide extra-curricular programme at St. Columba’s College, including arts & crafts, musical performance, drama and public speaking & debate.
Arts & Crafts
The visual arts are housed in the former gymnasium, converted in 2000 into a split-level space for classes and individual work, with adjoining rooms for the ceramics and photography departments. In this attractive environment pupils learn how to experiment and to communicate visually and are challenged to think creatively.
There are art, pottery and photography clubs, practical trips and expeditions to galleries, and major annual exhibitions. The College has had a fine tradition of nurturing artistic talent over many years, including the artists Patrick Pye, Patrick Scott and Paki Smith, former teacher Oisin Kelly, and fashion designer Marc O’Neill, and our current pupils maintain this tradition, regularly being accepted into art colleges in Ireland and abroad.
Music & Choir
For all details on Music as an academic subject please click here.
Music performance is an integral part of life in the College, be it for examination purposes or concerts or soirees. We have a dedicated peripatetic music staff and in 2017-18 these are: A. Grundy, MA (Mus.), Hon.VCM, FTCL, LRSM, ALCM (Guitar), K. Snowe, BA, ALCM (Piano), T. Lawlor, ALCM (Guitar), A. Murnaghan (Cello, Theory), E. Shannon, MA (Mus.) (Singing), A. Brady, B.Mus. (Singing, Piano), M. Buicke, BA (Mus.) (Singing). D. Hatch (B.Mus.) (Clarinet, Saxophone), R. Scarlett (percussion), M. O’Reilly (flute), R. Sheldrick (brass), B. Robinson (violin).
Our music building, the Cadogan, has was converted from a boarding House in 2006 and fully refurbished, with wonderful teaching and performing facilities, right beside the main performance space, the Big Schoolroom.
The Chapel Choir, conducted by our Director of Music Caroline Duggan, sings at weekly matins and evensong services and has a large repertoire of sacred music. The annual Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols in December is a highlight of the year for the Chapel Choir and Cantus Sine Nomine.
The senior chamber choir, Cantus Sine Nomine, directed by Mr Tristan Clarke, also sings in chapel services as well as concerts at Christmas, Easter and in the summer term. It has an extensive repertoire of diverse genre and composers which includes William Byrd, Thomas Tallis, Palestrina, Eric Whitacre, Christopher Tin, Wurorela, Chydenius Pentatonix and Fleet Foxes, to name but a few.
The Festival Choir is a mixed choir of staff and pupils which sings at large concerts and college events, such as the Gala concert. It’s repertoire consists of large scale works and recent past performances have included Vivaldi’s Gloria, Jenkins’ Armed Man and choruses from Tannhaüser.
The Junior Choir is open to pupils in forms Primary to Three and works on a light repertoire of popular, jazz and classical pieces.
The Competition Choir has represented the college numerous times in national singing competitions, including RTÉ’s All Island Singing Competition. We have, on several occasions, reached the provincial final of this competitive event. In recent years, this choir has been directed by Mr Eunan McDonald.
The college also has an informal Barbershop Quartet, lead by Mr. Barry Finn. This group consists of both staff and pupils and sings at many college functions and concerts. Mr. Finn has an impressive talent for arranging score for this very popular genre.
Drama & Performance
Drama is an integral part of our college life. Facilities include a well-equipped stage, with adjoining purpose-built Drama Room and a separate Costume Room. Pupils in every year are involved in an annual production of some sort, and there are also performance technique workshops for those in Forms II and IV. As well as learning specific performance-related skills, drama allows pupils to build self-confidence, character and social skills, and to work as part of a team whether on- or off-stage. Gaining confidence and skill in speaking and performing in front of large groups is an end in itself, but several of our recent leavers have also gone on to pursue a variety of drama-related courses. There is also a Video Drama group which involves pupils of all ages.
Drama Dublin has a thriving theatre scene and visits to current productions are made as part of the English courses, and by the Shakespeare Society.
The opportunities for involvement in organised drama through the school are as follows:
- Year I – Form Play
- Year II– Actiontrack workshops, Form Play, Junior Play, Artistic Performance Short Course
- Year III – Junior Play, Language Plays, Artistic Performance Short Course
- Year IV – Junior Play, Senior Play, Actiontrack showbuild, St.Andrew’s Festival, Transition Year drama module.
- Year V – Senior Play, Language Plays, St Andrew’s Festival
- Year VI – Senior Play
The St. Andrew’s Drama Festival involves the production and presentation of a one-act play, plus workshops and a young playwright competition.
A highlight of the Transition Year for the past seven years has been the Showbuild project with the Actiontrack Performance Company from England. Exercises in self-confidence, self-awareness, team building, communication skills, song writing and performance lead to an entire production of drama and music being created from scratch – written, rehearsed and performed within a week.
An outstanding run of recent Senior and Junior plays has included The Importance of Being Ernest, Dancing at Lughnasa, An Experiment with an Air-Pump, My Fair Lady, Antigone, Guys and Dolls, The Dracula Spectacular, The Apollo of Bellac, The Mousetrap, All Aboard, Kidder Loves Sharon, Lovers, Yang, P’tang, Kipperbang, Our Day Out and Philadelphia, Here I Come!
There has been a particularly strong run of Shakespeare productions – Romeo and Juliet, Twelfth Night, Much Ado About Nothing, The Comedy of Errors, As You Like It, The Merchant of Venice.
The Artistic Performance department has appreciated access to the Drama Notebook library of excellent plays which suit school performances perfectly. Please follow this link for more information.
Public Speaking & Debate
There is a vibrant debating and public speaking community at St Columba’s. The Senior House Debating Competition is hotly contested over the course of the year, with heats during the Michaelmas term leading to a grand final at the close of the Hilary term. The 2016-17academic year’s winners were Gwynn with Hollpark close runners up. Also in-house there is a Junior House Debating Competition and Form II Public Speaking Competition. As well as being a hugely enjoyable and social activity we believe that debating helps develop in students the ability to argue their case with vigour and conviction, to think on their feet, to point to the flaws and inconsistencies in an argument and to deflate opposing arguments without giving offence.
We try to participate in as many external competitions as possible and in any given academic year we are active in any or all of the following: European Youth Parliament, Trinity College Phil Speaks, World Schools Debating Championships, Concern Debates, UCD Junior Schools Debating Competition, Oxford Schools Debating Competition, Model United Nations, Soroptimist Society Public Speaking Competition, UCD L&H Leinster Schools as well as debating in French, Spanish and Irish language debating competitions.
Student versus Teacher debates are also very popular, especially when props and bribes are used as was the case in ‘This House Believes in Santa Claus’ in the last academic year.