Schools Singing Programme 2024

Uplifting young voices in Newry Cathedral!

For all the Primary 5 children gathered in Newry Cathedral on Tuesday, April 30, it was a momentous day when children from eight local schools celebrated the culmination of their P5 Schools Singing Programme. Pupils from St. Clare's Abbey, St. Colman's Saval, St. Joseph's Bessbrook, St. Joseph's Convent, St. Malachy's Camlough, St. Malachy's Carnagat, St. Patrick's The Meadow, and St. Ronan's filled the Cathedral of Saints Patrick and Colman with their wonderful voices and physical presence during a beautiful liturgy led by Archbishop Eamon Martin. Archbishop Martin, who is a passionate musician and strong singer, is keen to further endorse this inclusive singing programme which is delivered by Orla Nugent and Sara-Jane Kelly.

The liturgy was based around the churches liturgical calendar and journeyed the congregation through ordinary time, Lent and Easter seasons as well as commemorating both St Brigid and St Patrick in word and song. In this 1500 year celebration of St Brigid, child soloists sang a verse of Hymn to St Brigid by Bernard Sexton which was enriched by the inclusion of text relating to St Brigid read by Sisters Briege O’Hare and Marian Bell who are members of the Poor Clare community in Faughart Dundalk which is close to St. Brigid’s birthplace. This was followed by Orla Gorman, Principal of St Patrick’s The Meadow, who highlighted the importance of the Easter Triduum while Canon Francis Brown, Administrator of Newry Cathedral, relayed the importance of the entire Easter season leading up to Ascension Sunday.

In order to help children visualise the different coloured garments that priests wear throughout the liturgical calendar, Archbishop Eamon Martin used coloured stoles and explained the significance of each. Meanwhile, beautiful melodies and rich harmonies were added to the soundscape by the musicians who included violinist Joanna Doran.

Participants included children of all abilities, and congregation members remarked on the joyous and delicate sounds that they produced. Both religious and secular music are included in the Schools Singing Programme which promotes whole-class singing. Additionally, students learn vocabulary related to both Religious Education and Music and the programme aligns with the curriculum at KS2 level.

One of the P5 teachers at St. Joseph's PS Bessbrook, Mrs. Hadden, enthused:

"The musical language shared with the children was fantastic. The number of songs learnt was amazing. Orla and Sara-Jane made every session so enjoyable and engaging that it was wonderful to listen to each week. It gave all children an opportunity to sing and it was evident that they all thoroughly enjoyed it. It was a wonderful experience for our P5s and I know they will always remember being a part of this liturgy".

Mrs. Hadden, St. Joseph's PS Bessbrook

Complete recording of Schools Singing Programme 2024

Schools Singing Programme for the Diocese of Dromore 2024 - Full recording