Limerick Pipe Organ Festival was delighted to welcome Pádraig Wallace for a workshop at St. John’s Girls’ National School in May. Pádraig is an alumnus of the Schola Cantorum at St. Finian’s College Mullingar, and holds a BMus (UCC), MA (Performance; CSM), MA (Community Music; University of York) and PGDE (Mary Immaculate College Limerick). He is a seasoned choral singer and a highly accomplished organist and accompanist. He is currently Organist and Director of Music at St. Francis’ Church, Cork, as well as teaching in Bunscoil na Toirbhirte, Mitchelstown, Co. Cork. Pádraig’s account of the workshop is posted below. Many thanks to him for his wonderful workshop! Thanks also to Miriam O’Regan and the school principal, Aoibheann Ruane, for facilitating the event.

 

On Thursday May 24th I had the pleasure of facilitating a music workshop with the 5th Class girls of St. John’s GNS on behalf of the Limerick Pipe Organ Festival.

The workshop was very topical and current in nature as the music that we tackled on the day was based upon music for the Royals, coming only days after the Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. It was important that each of the strands of the Music Curriculum were referenced and by the end of the day, we had listened and responded to music, performed, and composed.

Our first exercise was a simple call and response body percussion piece of music, which elicited the fantastic amount of prior knowledge the girls had about music. Within minutes, the board was full of words such as tempo, dynamics, pitch, beat, pulse, volume, rhythm etc.

We then moved on to our first listening piece of the day, La Réjouissance from the Royal Fireworks. We had a short discussion prior to this explaining that the Monarchy would have employed the most reputable and famous composers of their time to create music for them.

A live recording of the BBC Symphony Orchestra playing La Réjoussance from Music for the Royal Fireworks, featuring live fireworks was played. This recording was taken from the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations in 2002. The 5th class girls also showed off their mental maths skills by working out how long the Queen is now Queen of England.

We responded to the music through art by picking loud and soft colours to correspond to the forte and piano sections of the music to create our own artistic firework displays.

We then used these pieces of firework paper as our own paper percussion orchestra to keep the beat to Katie Perry’s song Firework. The girls demonstrated their improvisatory ad creative skills by devising different ways of playing the paper to show the duration of the different note values. In fact the girls not only played along with the song but in fact gave a splendid rendition of singing the song and were in fine voice.

This led us on to Stand By Me – a song that was chosen by Harry and Megan for their wedding. As there was no commissioned piece for this Royal Wedding, we decided to have a look at the piece of music that was most out of the ordinary for a Royal wedding in England.

Once again the girls excellent at listening and responding to the recording from Harry and Megan’s Wedding and it was not long before we were singing the riff of the song to the words ostinato. Some individual girls put themselves forward to sing the verses of the song while their classmates kept singing the ostinato.

As with all of the music chosen it was noted that all of this music was more than accessible to the organ and indeed there are many pieces of orchestral music, like Music for the Royal Fireworks, that have been transcribed for organ. Also Stand By Me, owing to its compositional structure could work very well on the organ, with the ostinato theme being covered by the pedal, and the sustained harmonies underneath the solo voice being played on the swell manual. This was then demonstrated to the girls in the afternoon at St. John’s Cathedral.

 

All of the above was achieved before small break. After small break we had some great fun making our own musical instruments. While some groups busily began in earnest sizing pipes, applying balloons to tops of cups and navigated applying mouth pieces to their instruments, others were busy drawing and decorating pipes of their own as I had brought some antique pipes from the organ of St. Francis Church Cork with me to Limerick.

The girls thoroughly enjoyed making their instruments and were soon warming up for their very own composition. Using some simple rhythmic and compositional techniques the girls had quickly composed a delightfully dramatic and punchy music fanfare of their own, most certainly fit for a Royal Wedding!

Once the instruments were made and the practises were completed we headed over to the Organ Gallery of St. John’s Cathedral. Events began with a playing of Fanfare by William Mathias. Mathias was the composer commissioned for Prince Charles and Diana’s Wedding so in terms of fitting into our theme it was an appropriate piece to begin proceedings with.

Once this was finished we performed Katie Perry’s Firework – no doubt a first for St. John’s Cathedral, followed by Stand By Me and finishing with a premiere of the girls own “Squonky Tube” piece.

It was a truly wonderful day of music making and appreciation and I am very thankful to Bernadette Kiely for her encouragement and perseverance in bringing this day to fruition. Many thanks to the 5th class girls of St. John’s GNS and their class teacher Ms. Diane Smyth for their kindness and co-operation for the day.

 

Below are some thank-you messages from the pupils who attended the workshop: 

St Mary’s Cathedral is hosting some beautiful concerts as part of its 850th anniversary celebrations.

This evening at 7PM, the University of Tennessee Chamber Singers present a concert of American and Irish music, including some well-known favourites. It promises to be a wonderful and fun evening of music!

On Monday night, 16th July, the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge, directed by Stephen Cleobury, will perform great choral music from the choir’s extensive repertoire. The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge is especially known to millions worldwide through its annual broadcast of a Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols. The Choir’s international fame and reputation, enhanced by an extensive recording catalogue, has led to invitations to perform around the world.

The choir’s visit to Limerick is a wonderful occasion, and the highlight of the musical programme in this special anniversary year. The choir will perform music by Orlando Gibbons, Edward Elgar, Ralph Vaughan Williams, and Judith Weir. The event is now sold out.

 

 

 

Many thanks to Sebastian Heindl for his marvellous performance at Friday evening’s recital! It was a wonderful evening of beautiful music. Thanks also to everyone else who helped to make the recital a success, in particular, to our sponsors and supporters, to St John’s Cathedral for hosting the event, and to our audience members. Photos of the event will soon be posted in our gallery.

 

It is our pleasure to welcome Sebastian Heindl to St John’s Cathedral for the final organ concert in our 2018 series. The performance will take place on Friday, 29th June at 7:30PM, and will last approximately an hour.

Sebastian won the Northern Ireland Organ Competition in 2017, and is doing a short organ recital tour of Ireland this summer, taking in St Patrick’s College, Maynooth and St Michael’s Church, Dun Laoghaire as well as Limerick.

We are fortunate and privileged that he has fitted his recital at St John’s Cathedral into his busy schedule, and with tickets priced at just 5 euro, this is great value for an enjoyable evening of fine music. The recital will feature:

Sebastián Aguilera de Heredia (1561-1627)
Obra de 8° tono – “Ensalada”

Max Reger (1873-1916)
Toccata und Fuge in a-minor (from op. 80)

Olivier Messiaen (1908-1992)
Alleluia sereins d’un ame qui desire la ciel
Alleluia sur la trompette, Alleluia sur la Cymbal
(transcription of 2nd mvt: S. Heindl)

César Franck (1822-1890)
Choral No. 2 in b-minor 

Max Reger
Scherzo (from op. 65)

Sigfrid Karg-Elert (1877-1933)
Valse mignonne (from op. 142)
Rondo alla Campanella op. 156

Sebastian Heindl, born in 1997, received his fundamental musical education from the age of 5 as a piano student and later as a singer in St Thomas Boys’ Choir Leipzig. There he got organ lessons with University Organist Daniel Beilschmidt and had many performances as accompanist of the Choir in office of Praefectus Organus. In 2013 he contributed as an organ soloist to the BBC TV documentary “Bach: A Passionate Life” with Sir John Eliot Gardiner. He was just 15 at the time. His performance can be viewed on Youtube:

At the age of 17 he recorded his debut CD for Rondeau Production at the Great Schuke Organ at Magdeburg Cathedral including his own orchestral trancriptions. His playing on the recording was lauded by the press as “absolutely authentic, technically perfect, fiery, enthralling” (Organ_Journal für die Orgel). Sebastian performed as a soloist in many prestigious locations such as St Thomas Church Leipzig, Essen Cathedral, Altenburg Castle Chapel, Bach Church Arnstadt and the Gewandhaus Leipzig, where he gave his debut with the Poulenc organ concerto. In 2017 he won the Northern Ireland International Organ Competition giving him the opportunity to perform across the UK and in New York City in 2018. Currently he is studying church music at the University of Music in Leipzig with Prof. Martin Schmeding. He is a fellow of the “Studienstiftung des Deutschen Volkes” and the Richard Wagner Foundation.

The recital is presented by the Limerick Pipe Organ Festival, in association with St Mary’s Cathedral 850 – and we gratefully acknowledge the funding support of Limerick City and County Council/Arts Office.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

Thank you to everyone who attended Wednesday night’s concert, an evening of beautiful music and poetry. Thanks to the Sacred Heart Church, to our sponsors, and to everyone who helped to facilitate the event in any way. Thanks in particular to Eric Sweeney and Mark Roper for their wonderful performance. Pictures of the event are now available in our gallery. We’re looking forward to our final concert for 2018 next week, featuring talented German organist, Sebastian Heindl. Further details soon to follow!

Eric Sweeney performing at the Sacred Heart Church

Mark Roper reading his poetry at the Sacred Heart Church