Presentation College actively supports and encourages students to develop their creative and artistic talents. One fantastic outlet for this creativity is our magical school musicals which have enthralled Carlow audiences over the years. Previous productions have included: The Nightmare Before Christmas, The Blues Brothers, Blood Brothers, West Side Story, Belle and the Beast, Bugsy Malone, Grease, Oliver, Our House, The Wizard of Oz and Mamma Mia! which have allowed the talents of past and present pupils to flourish and take expression. Our students are also actively involved in local music, drama and stage schools.
Presentation College has a very vibrant and active Music Department. Students from First to Sixth Year engage in a variety of musical genres through the study of Classical, Traditional, Pop, Rock, Jazz and Ethnic Music. The Music classes are always full to capacity and often have a waiting list to join.
There are many opportunities to perform throughout the school year as a soloist or as part of instrumental or vocal groups. Some of our recent sell-out concerts have been ‘One Wicked Night’ and ‘Pure Imagination’ in the Seven Oaks Hotel and ‘When Christmas Comes to Town’, our very popular Christmas concert. We’ve recently introduced an Open Mic Session at lunchtime once a month. Students perform songs and music in front of their peers, which is an invaluable experience for every up-and-coming musician. These Open Mic Sessions have proved very popular among the student body, with packed audiences every month.
The School Choir has grown from strength to strength over the last seven years. Over fifty students from all year groups take part in our non-auditioned choir, made up of Sopranos, Altos, Tenors and Basses. The choir performs at various school functions, including Presentation Day Mass, our Carol Service, Open Night and more. We have recently put together a Chamber Choir for students who wish to musically challenge themselves a little more. In recent years the choir were very lucky to work with world renowned composer Jim Papoulis as part of his global project ‘Foundation For Small Voices’ and recorded his song ‘Music Changes The World’.
Another important aspect of studying Music is the opportunity to see live music. Students visit the National Concert Hall in Dublin every year to hear the RTÉ Symphony Orchestra perform their prescribed Junior and Leaving Certificate works. We have also gone to the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre to see some fantastic musicals including ‘Mary Poppins’, ‘Wicked’ and ‘Shrek’ and have returned from our second very successful trip to London’s West End where we saw ‘Les Misérables’ and ‘Matilda the Musical’, with a third trip to London ready to take place.
There have been many studies stating that involvement in music-making greatly benefits our physical and mental wellbeing and that is very much in evidence in Presentation College. Our participation in the ‘Sing and Shine’ concert in the George Bernard Shaw Theatre in 2015 with young people from Aspiro and other local secondary schools gave the choir members a chance to explore this through working with an artist and a counsellor. We received very positive feedback from the students involved and the professionals working with us. In Presentation College’s Music Department students are allowed the freedom to build their self-confidence and self-worth in a safe and supportive environment while developing their creative and artistic talents.