We have a very strong tradition of excellence in the area of music in the school. In the early years, pupils learn to listen to, identify and imitate familiar sounds in the immediate environment from varying sources, explore ways of making sounds using manufactured and home-made instruments, listen to and respond to a variety of songs and styles of music, sing with increasing vocal control and confidence a growing range of songs and melodies, use percussion instruments to show the beat or rhythm in accompanying songs or rhythmic chants and generally have fun through music. In 2013 we became involved with Music Generation Carlow, a venture which has proven to be extremely successful. Under this scheme, pupils in 3rd and 4th Classes received tuition from a professional musician in recorder. This in an integral part of the way in which we deliver the Music Curriculum and ensures that every child is afforded the opportunity to learn to read music and can identify and perform familiar tunes from memory or from notation independently. This initiative is partly funded by Music Generation Carlow and also The Parents’
Recorder group performance
We also had a brass programme which was open to 5th and 6th class pupils. Interested students had the opportunity to play either the trumpet or trombone. These lessons took place after school and generally led to some form of performance at a point during the year. In 2018-19 the brass students took part in a collaboration with the Royal Irish Academy of Music and the Irish National Opera entitled the Popera Project. Each participating school, including Bennekerry, worked with Andrew Synnott, INO, to develop and work on the chorus of the composed opera and then their individual contribution. This was done in partnership with Gavin Barr, the MGC musician currently working in our school. The entire project culminated with a performance in the George Bernard Shaw Theatre in the middle of June.
Brass group performing at Popera
Our school community was extremely proud of our wonderful School Choir which was always a delight to hear when they performed during school functions and on special occasions. Ms. Ann Brolly directed the School Choir, assisted by members of staff, after the school day. One of the major highlights for our school choir came in 2016 when they won the much-coveted Biddy McGuire Cup in the A.I.M.S. Choral Festival in New Ross. They were also awarded very high marks in the same competition in 2017 and 2018, when they finished in 3rd place, and again in the Kilkenny Music Festival in 2019. One of the most enjoyable evenings of the school year is when the School Choir, Parish Choir and other members of the school and local communities meet together to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas through the annual Carol Service.
Unfortunately, Covid-19 led to the suspension of our Music Generation Programme and Choir for the school years 2021-22 and 2022-23 as the guidelines dictated that there should be no singing and no playing of wind instruments. We are hopeful that we may be able to return to these activities in the school year 2022-23.