In the area of education, a number of our Sisters have been involved with new initiatives. In Crumlin, Sr. Bernadette Sweeney R.S.C. has pioneered the way forward with the St. Agnes’ Primary School Music Project, an innovative project that gives every child in the school the opportunity of learning a musical instrument, regardless of ability of pay. Currently, more than 400 children are learning music through the project.
St. Agnes’ Community Youth Orchestra has grown out of this project and involves children from the school who wish to further their musical experience beyond the classroom. The project continues to support secondary school pupils as they move on, with loan of instruments, lessons provided after school, and support for their membership of an orchestra.
The project (managed by Joanna Crooks) has proved to be a model of intergenerational music making and community involvement. In 2010 a Parents’ Orchestra was formed (conducted by Eimear O’Grady) and now has more than 70 members, almost none of whom had an opportunity to learn music in childhood. In 2011, St Agnes’ Musical Society for adults was formed. All of this means that music is changing lives across many generations in Crumlin — the age range of the musicians is three to 80 years old!
The President of Ireland Michael D Higgins paid a visit to St Agnes’ School in Crumlin, Dublin on 12th December 2011. He was welcomed with ‘The Presidential Salute’ played by the children, parents and grandparents of the school’s Violin and Orchestra Project. Afterwards President Higgins addressed the children, orchestra and 250 assembled guests. He told them that this was a community that was right to feel proud of all that they have achieved, and asked if there was anything more democratic than the achievement where 400 children receive free weekly music lessons? Sentiments which echo the vision of Sr. Bernadette who wants every child in the school to have the chance to find their own inner creativity.
For more information visit the website www.stagnesmusiccrumlin.com