At St. Columba’s, we have always celebrated the sporty types and being awarded one’s ‘Sports Colours’ is an accolade to which many aspire but only a few achieve. They are awarded not just for excellence but also for commitment and overall positive contribution. In the past, however, in my opinion, we have not given the same recognition to those who excel in the cultural life of the College and I have thought it is time to change that. ‘Colours’ are usually seen as a sporting idea, so, being a classicist, I have introduced a Musarum Comes, or MC, which translates as a Companion of the Muses. In ancient Greek mythology, the Muses were the spirits which inspired great art and music and dance … in fact, there were nine of them. OK, so it is a slightly pretentious concept, but I like it!
Next term I will present the first batch of MCs with their awards, a tie for the boys and a silver medallion for the girls. However, at assembly this morning I decided to award one in advance to Emily McCarthy, who has made an enormous contribution to the artistic life of the school for the last six years. She is a fine actress, who has had a few lead roles, but her regular contributions to the choir and her readiness to sing solos in Chapel and elsewhere, have been a treat for all of us. This week she won the Under 18 girls’ vocal cup and the Under 18 Cailíní Cup, for singing in Irish, at the Feis Coeil, to add to her win at the Wesley Feis three weeks ago. That is an outstanding achievement and hence the decision to single her out to be the first recipient of this award.
We are very proud that she has been awarded a scholarship to the Royal College of Music in London for next year. As for the Musarum Comes, we hope it will become as prized and sought after as Sports Colours. Congratulations to Emily for being the first and thank you for all of the memories.