The Seinn Music Project was born out of the desire to provide second-level schools in the dioceses of Limerick and Killaloe with resources for liturgical music. Ian Callanan, who has been involved with the Emmanuel Schools’ Music Programme in the archdiocese of Dublin since its inception in 2004, approached Bishops Brendan Leahy and Kieran O’Reilly with a view to establishing a similar programme in the Limerick and Killaloe Dioceses. In October 2013 the bishops appointed a committee to oversee the setting up of the programme.
At the beginning of November letters were sent to all the second-level schools in the two dioceses introducing the Seinn music project and at the same time the committee compiled the Seinn 2014 music book and CD including an Irish translation of Christ be our Light and some other songs which were recorded for the first time. Theses books and CDs were distributed at a workshop for teachers, held in November 2013 and the students in the nineteen schools began their preparation. At the same time the Seinn logo was designed and a website created.
The dioceses of Limerick and Killaloe cover a wide area, from west Clare across to Offaly with much of Limerick and part of Tipperary in between. The University of Limerick campus was chosen as venue for the Seinn workshops and concert because of its central location. During January 2014 we began discussions with the University Concert Hall, together with the Irish World Academy of Music and Dance, and the Irish Chamber Orchestra, and the campus catering facilities to arrange workshop spaces and coordinate the logistics of a day-long event with almost 500 students.
During the first three months of 2014 the students in the different schools were busy learning and rehearsing the programme of music. At the same time auditions were held for the soloists and instrumentalists. There were over thirty soloists selected and another twenty instrumentalists chosen to play in the orchestra alongside the professional band. Rehearsals for the soloists and orchestra were held during February and March.
On The Day
The Seinn music project is about much more than music, so on 3 April 2014, the date of the concert, there were also workshops on faith, liturgy, prayer and social justice. The day opened with over 450 students gathered in the Irish Chamber Orchestra building for the welcome and opening prayer with Bishop Kieran O’Reilly of Killaloe. Throughout the rest of the morning all students had a music rehearsal with Ian Callanan and also participated in two of the workshops offered – Greg Fromholz gave workshops on the theme of the day – “We are all the same under a different name”; El Gleeson & Joanne O’Brien offered sessions on Meditation; Sydney Freedman of the IWAMD provided workshops on Orthodox Chant while RasMikey Courney gave two workshops on Ritual Movement; and Maria Barry facilitated workshops on the work of Trocaire.
Following a break for lunch, the students gathered in the Concert Hall, together with the band, for the dress rehearsal. This was the first time that all the students had performed together. After the rehearsal there for dinner for everyone and it was time to get ready for the concert.
With almost 500 performers on the stage and in the balconies of the University Concert Hall there were about 700 seats available for the concert. Most of these were filled so there was a great atmosphere for the first Seinn concert. Seinn is built on the concept of participation, and not just for the students – the audience were invited to learn and sing a song too! The concert was a tremendous success and enjoyed by all.
Great credit is due to those who made Seinn 2014 possible. Firstly to Bishops Brendan Leahy and Kieran O’Reilly who supported the project, both in person by their encouragement and presence on the day of the event and also with financial backing from both dioceses; the committee members (Noirin Lynch, Sr Marie McNamara, Fr Frank O’Connor, Fr Richard Purcell) together with Ian Callanan, the director of music, worked tirelessly from the outset to ensure the success of the project; on the day of the event a group of volunteers assisted with the smooth running of the programme; finally the staff of the University Concert Hall, the Irish World Academy of Music and the Irish Chamber Orchestra facilitate us in everyway possible to make Seinn 2014 a reality.
Participating Schools 2014
Coláiste Mhuire, Askeaton
Coláiste na Trócaire, Rathkeale
Cresecent College Comprehensive SJ
St Clement’s Redemptorist College
Salesian Secondary College, Pallaskenry
Scoil Pól, Kilfinane
Cistercian College, Roscrea
Coláiste Phobal, Ros Cré
Coláiste Mhuire, Ennis
Kilrush Community School
Rice College, Ennis
St Anne’s Community College, Killaloe
St Caimin’s Community School, Shannon
St Flannan’s College, Ennis
St Joseph’s CBS, Nenagh
St Mary’s Secondary School, Nenagh
St Patrick’s Comprehensive School,
Programme of Events on 3 April
9:30 – 10:00 Registration
10:00 – 10:30 Welcome – Main Hall – ICO Building
10:30 – 1:15 Morning Rehearsal and Workshops
1:15 – 2:15 Lunch (provided by the students themselves)
2:15 – 5:30 Full Dress Rehearsal – Concert Hall – Foundation Building
5:30 – 6:30 Dinner (provided by Seinn)
Here are a few words people had to say about last year!
Had a Gr8 time at Seinn 2014 hopefully there’ll be another one thank you Ian and all involved!!!
(Scotty Mitchell via Facebook)
Thanks Seinn for the great experience I’ve had the best time ever I enjoyed the concert and the memory will live with me forever thank you so much
(Rachel O’Brien, via Facebook)
Well done to you and all the team it was an absolutely fantastic day (given that I was so close to pulling the plug two weeks ago!!!!) So glad we saw it through to the end! All exhausted but elated today. Thanks again Ian and we will definitely see you next year (standing won’t be an option then either)