Belvedere College - The Junior Choir

The Junior Choir

The Junior Choir

A Letter from a First year reflecting on his first year in choir!

Matthew Nolan ELX

Back in September of 2017, Fran called all the new Elements students to the lecture theatre for a “trial run” at choir. She had us singing about bananas, kiwis and lots of other weird things, but it had us all laughing. From then, I knew I wanted to be in the choir.

The first day was a bit strange, because no one knew anyone at all, and no one knew any of the songs. As the weeks went on people started to leave, but a group of about 37 of us stayed on and became great friends.

My highlights of the year were definitely singing in the RDS and placing 2nd in the Feis Ceoil junior choir competition, singing for Sir Anthony o Reilly, performing in the Music Evening, and definitely all the treats that Fran made us during the year! If I had to choose 1 low point, it would have to be the time that Fran brought us all in cookies, and took them home again because we were being too noisy!

Another big highlight was the last day of choir, when Ruaidhrí and Fran brought us bowling in Blachardstown. It was such a fun way to end the year!

Throughout the year, I have made so many friends and have made lots of memories through the choir, and I will definitely keep it up next year!


2017 Success for the Junior Choir!!!!

This year the Belvedere College Junior Choir performed at two competitions; Wesley Inter Schools Music Festival and ESB Feis Ceoil.  The Choir is made up of Elements to Grammar Students, ranging from ages 12-15. Our Conductor is Frances Stoker-Phelan.

On Friday the 7th of March, the Choir arrived at Wesley College for our first competition of the year. The Element students were oozing with enthusiasm as it was their first competition.  At the same time they were nervous, as were the Rudiments and Grammar Students as they had already competed in this competition, coming third last year.

When the time came for our slot, everybody felt ready for performing our piece “the Jungle Book”. It is a funky piece with lots of animation. When we got up on the stage our enthusiasm shone through our performance, ensuring the audience and the judges thoroughly enjoyed our piece.  As time went on, other really good Junior Choirs performed against us; and we, watching them started to worry, but at the same time we were still hopeful.  When the adjudicator narrated that every Choir was extremely good and some hard decisions had to be made over the points, she announced that Belvedere College Junior Choir came 1st Place and we were all delighted.  Fran chose a Grammar student, Liam O’Keeffe and I to collect the 1st Place Trophy and Certificate.  It was a great honour.

On the 28th of March, The Belvedere  College Junior Choir performed in the second and final competition of the year, the ESB Feis Ceoil, which annually takes place in the RDS in Ballsbridge.  As we were on the way to the Feis Ceoil, lots of the lads were singing and were hyper as the first competition brought us much success. Fran had to keep telling us to stop singing as she didn’t want us to strain our voices.   Thank God we did.

On arrival we went into a large room to practice and relax.  We practised our two songs at least three times each, perfecting it to a level that was well worth the practice.  The two song were the “Jungle Book” and “Oh No John”. Both were animated and fun.  “Oh No John” was the set song, so every choir had to compete with this song, hence the competition was stiff.

We had Ryan Hargadon, who is an amazing pianist and a past pupil of Belvedere, accompanying us on the piano in both competitions.

Whilst on stage, all of the other choirs sat in the audience watching us, whilst at the same time waiting to perform.  Before the two songs Fran would say “I want to see lots of animation and give it socks!”.  This is our reassurance from her.  We had lots of actions in our two pieces to liven them up and make them stand out from the other Choirs competing against us.  It was important that the Judges see that little bit extra to place in their mind who is the best performing choir on the night. Our two songs got a great reaction from the audience.

When the adjudicator got up to announce the winners, we all had a really good feeling, as we were quite confident with our pieces.   However, at the same time you are never so sure until your name is called.  Those of us who were in the Choir last year were well aware that despite how well you perform, until the decision is made, and the name is called out, you can never be too sure of the outcome.

The Adjudicator announced 1st Place to Belvedere and did we scream with happiness and relief.   We were over the moon with joy.  The Adjudicator’s comments about Oh No John were that he “loved the characterisation”, and that we “created a really good corporate sound and it was very well toned”.    He said that the Jungle Book was “thoroughly entertaining!” and that “you get a chance to show different singing colours”.  He also said “two parts always in balance – even in competition with one another”.   Overall he said “this is a great choir under great leadership”, and that we scored the highest mark of 89 out of 100. Since we won our Youth Choir competition we were put into an over-all competition which didn’t give us as much luck as the first two.

I had a great time at these two competitions, being one that loves to perform.  I cannot forget to mention that none of this would have happened without all the hard work from Fran and Ryan, seriously it must be very hard trying to keep our attention in focus and to get us to listen and perform over and over again.
I am so happy that I was able to be part of this experience and I wish the Junior Choir lots of good luck in future competitions.

I will miss this Choir next year when no doubt I will be in the Senior Choir.

Sean Brady ,
Rudiments Aylmer.

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