Thanks to Arts critic, Liam Murphy for attending the debut concert of the Presto Ensembles. His report appeared in the Munster Express last week. Here is an extract from his weekly column.
SCHOOL CONCERT REVIEW The Presto Ensembles
I had the wonderful pleasure, thanks to the invitation of Anne Marie O'Mara, the new principal at the Presentation Primary School, to attend the celebratory concert of a Violin Project run over the school year, where four classes got hands-on experience with the violin, under the intuitive tutelage of Cathy Desmond who runs a successful and inspirational String School. She exudes musical energy and is a past pupil of the Presentation School.
This Presto Strings Violin Programme was launched in September, and is one of a small, but developing number of inclusive class-based string tuition projects running in Irish schools, with the wonderful aim of introducing every child to playing an instrument and participating as a team in a musical activity with their classmates.
The concert featured a large choir, and 100 children from 3rd and 4th classes who got hands-on work with a violin and explored rhythm and making sounds, leading to making music.
The range of styles from classical, dance, blues, marches, sea-shanties, and ceili dancing, with added rhythm and dramatic use of sound was so impressive. The gathering of happy, beaming parents told their own proud story, and you could feel the pride and the happy sense of shared achievement.
Olive Doorley made me welcome and the School Hall echoed with excitement and lots of happy faces. The School choir who sang recently in the Theatre Royal with The Three Tenors, entertained with the William Vincent Wallace song, In Happy Moments, and Leonard Cohen's, Hallelujah. Miss Tobin accompanied them on the piano with style and encouragement.
Ms Ryan's class delighted with pizzicato rhythms from March of the Toreador's from Carmen, and a drunken sailor shanty. The Kilfenora Ceili Dancer, was fun with Roisin on lead violin, and a percussionist added a harmonious tone to the piece.
Ms Fitzgerald's class shone with a vibrant Vivaldi, and a variation on, Wintertime in Russia. Jane on lead violin rocked for, We Will Rock You, and the class rolled to the beat. A clever, Sharks Out, routine showed dramatic acting and co-ordination.
Mrs Morgan's class developed a musical dramatisation for a spoken fairytale, that was imaginative and impressive.
Mrs Bourke's class rounded off the concert in splendid style, as the young violinists delivered a Foxtrot with dance steps, a Slievekeale Road Blues, and a rousing, Ode To Joy, as well as a variation on Twinkle Twinkle that Mozart learned in his early years. I love that connectivity and inspiration.
The pupils were happy, the parents and relatives were beaming and the teachers were proud of the achievement, and the success of the project.
Music is central to life and enjoyment and the Presentation deserves much praise and more financial support as well.
Liam Murphy Munster Express Tuesday 13th May 2014