Mountmellick House is the home of music in Newtown School. It’s rooms are busy both by day and by night, with our musicians attending lessons and rehearsals and of course, practising every evening.
Our weekly schedule includes:
- Girls’ choir rehearsals on Tuesday lunchtimes 1.30-2.00.
- Chamber choir rehearsals – sectional line rehearsals on Monday lunchtimes, with a full practice on Monday evenings at 6pm.
- Orchestra rehearsals on Thursday lunchtimes 1.30-2.00.
- Junior choir (all 1st form) once a week on the academic timetable.
There are 9 practice rooms of various sizes available daily…and fully utilised!…for the musicians to work on and perfect their pieces, scales, compositions and chamber music performances which they will have studied with one of the nine instrumental teachers who come and give one-to-one lessons on a weekly basis.
In addition to these regular rehearsals, the music department also makes time for ‘all that is involved’ in the staging of a musical show, which this year is the fabulous ‘Grease’
Our music department motto … Get involved! and … practice makes perfect!
The Newtown orchestra is a great way to meet other students who have an interest in music, try out new genres and generally just have a bit of fun. Recently the orchestra has become more of a ‘big band’ due to the large amount of wind instruments and a lack of strings. The orchestra currently consists of violins, cellos, double bass, electric and acoustic guitars, saxophones, clarinets, flutes, piano,drums and voice. We play a large variety of music including jazz, popular, classical and film music. The highlight of last year was probably the Christmas concert where we played ‘Gabriel’s Theme’ from the film The Mission, Pencil Full of Lead’ by Paolo Nutini, which featured a vocal and trumpet solo. We also performed a Christmas favourite ‘O Come All Ye Faithful’ which we accompanied both the chamber and Senior choir singers. It was a successful night that was enjoyed by all.
Christmas Concert 2016
The Christmas concert gives students a platform to show the extent of the talent in the school and it is one of the highlights of the school year. There is actually two concerts. The day before the actual concert the students perform to their peers to “dress rehearse” the concert. This makes sure that everyone gets the chance to see the concert. Have a look below at some excerpts from this year’s and last year’s concerts.
The Chamber Choir took part in the Newtown Christmas Concert where we performed “O Re Mi”, a traditional Nigerian song arranged by Mike Brewer, and “Rockin’ around the Christmas Tree” arranged by Alexander L’Estrange.
In recent years, the Choir has taken part in the Tricolour celebration concert in Christchurch Cathedral in Waterford, which commemorated the first unveiling of the Irish Tricolour Flag by Thomas Francis Meagher at 33 the Mall in Waterford city. At this concert they sang “Ba na ha”, a traditional Congolese song, “Lead me Lord” by Will Todd and “Viva La Musica!” by Ivan Erod. They were also part of the massed choir which performed the anthem of Waterford, “City of Music” along with several other junior and senior school choirs.
Finally, the Choir has also competed in the AIMS Choral Festival in New Ross. They sang “Lead me Lord” by Will Todd and “Mack the Knife” from the musical “The Three Penny Opera” by Kurt Weill, arranged by Russ Robinson. They scored a fantastic mark of 87 in the competition.
There is stiff competition for places in next year’s Chamber Choir and this is great news as it means the high standards the Choir set for themselves will be maintained and improved upon. As part of the choir programme next year, a foreign trip with the choir is being planned. This is still in the early planning stages but all going well it will be a fantastic experience for our young singers.