Strong Musical Tradition
We have a strong tradition of music in Ard Scoil na nDéise.
Students are given the opportunity to learn the theory of music from the very beginning.
Those students with these basics mastered are encouraged to develop their skills.
The first year programme is designed to give pupils a basic grounding in music theory in preparation for the Junior Cert. Students study notation, tonic solfa, chord construction and orchestral features. Every student also takes part in a practical class where the students learn to play the recorder. They can also explore their rhythmic sides by experimenting with many ethnic percussion instruments such as the Cajón and the bongos as well as the regular drum set!
In second year, students can choose to take music as an option for Junior Cert. As well as a written paper in June, 25% of the marks are awarded for performance in April.
In Transition year, the girls have the opportunity to learn the ukulele, a unique instrument which has gained popularity in recent years.
Leaving Certificate Course
The Leaving Cert course is based on the three elements of music; listening, composing and performing. Students can take a 50% performance elective for their exam. Music technology is an option for students as part of this.
All instrumentalists are given the opportunity to perform at many school events throughout the year. Within each music class, many choral activities take place giving the students the chance to enjoy the experience of group singing.
We have a vibrant Irish traditional music group within the school and new members are always welcome!
Lismore Music Festival
Ard Scoil students have attended two opera productions at Lismore Castle. There was Rossini’s "Barber of Seville," attended that same night by President Michael D. Higgins.
Students at Lismore Castle for the Marriage of Figaro
In 2013, the opera was Mozart's "The Marriage of Figaro." Our belles managed to navigate the gravel paths and steps in their extremely high heels without any mishap. Thanks to Lauren Mulvihill for this excellent review of the night:
Lismore Castle again this year played host to a stunning opera performance. The cast of the Marriage of Figaro, sequel to last year’s the Barber of Seville, performed their dress rehearsal in the courtyard by the stables of the castle on Friday 31st of May.
The Marriage of Figaro is a four-act comic opera that was composed in 1786 by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, with Lorenzo Da Ponte writing the Italian libretto. The opera is based on a 1784 stage comedy by Pierre Beaumarchais, who also wrote the original non-operatic Barber of Seville in 1773. Although the original plays were in a trilogy, with the Guilty Mother being the third, the final instalment in the series was not composed until the late 20th century, and didn’t debut until 1966, as neither the third play nor the third opera achieved as much success as the first two.
Nearby schools, including Árd Scoil na nDéise, were invited to watch the dress rehearsal of the opera in Lismore Castle on Friday evening. Those of us who had gone last year had enjoyed it immensely and were wondering how they’d manage to live up to their previous performance. A good first impression was certainly made; the main thing we all noticed as we took our seats was the set, which was absolutely beautiful. The overall style of the set and costumes was described as “kind of Made in Chelsea meets the Real Housewives of Orange County”. The courtyard, with its gorgeous fountain, had been divided into three parts; on the right, you had the orchestra, in the middle the fountain and a table and chair set, and most impressively, a garden had been set up on the left hand side. Fake grass had been placed on the ground along with an arch covered in flowers with a stone path leading up through it. Candles dotted the set that were lit later that night. The stables themselves, as they were last year, were also done up like shops and flats, and looked perfect. I’m not sure who chose Lismore Castle as the original location for the opera, but whoever it was deserves a pay rise - they got it spot on.
Students at Lismore Castle for the Marriage of Figaro
The Marriage of Figaro takes place near Seville, Spain and follows the story of the Barber of the first opera, Figaro, now head of the count’s servant-staff, over the course of one day-the day he hopes to marry his fiancée, Susanna. It has been several years since the Barber of Seville, and the marriage of Count Almaviva and Rosina is not going too well. Almaviva has taken a shine to Susanna and is trying his hardest to delay her and Figaro’s wedding for as long as he possibly can. Since 18th-century opera-goers clearly enjoyed a lot of drama, not only is Susanna having problems, but Dr. Bartolo returns with Marcellina, who has hired him to be her lawyer. Figaro once promised her that he would marry her if he was to default on a loan she had given him, and she has every intention of enforcing that promise. Dr. Bartolo, still angry with Figaro for helping Almaviva and Rosina to marry each other when he had originally wanted to marry Rosina, is only too happy to help.
Comedy is one of the most difficult forms of performance you can do, as comedy is extremely subjective, and it gets even harder when 90% of your audience can only understand 10% of what you’re saying, so it shows you how good the cast was when the crowd was kept laughing for the entire show. The primary school class in the corner in particular found it hilarious-they were literally screaming with laughter at times! Not only was it funny, though, but the singers were supremely talented and confident in what they were doing, even while singing some ridiculously complicated arias that had to be heard to be believed. The orchestra, too, didn’t falter once (and I now really want to learn to play the cello). Apparently the ‘lighting guy’ has in the past won the equivalent of an ‘Irish Oscar’ for his work and that certainly shone through; the day-to-night transition was seamless and we were treated to a “fireworks display” at the end of the night! Every little bit of the performance was taken care of down to the finest detail.
Even for us non-operagoing folk, it was a really enjoyable night and the cast deserved the huge round of applause they got and more. I’m sure their other shows went amazingly, and we’d like to thank everyone involved for inviting us to go and see the Marriage of Figaro.
by Lauren Mulvihill
Students at Lismore Castle for the Barber of Seville