The SATB choir of St Patrick’s Grammar School, Armagh is made up of students from years 8-14. Whilst most of their repertoire is drawn from sacred music, the choir also perform a range of secular and popular pieces.
The choristers have been fortunate to perform at church services in St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Cathedral in Armagh, St Patrick’s Church of Ireland Cathedral, Armagh, Rosemary Street Presbyterian Church, Belfast, Glenmachan Church of God, Belfast and also in the local feeder church. The choir have performed and been very successful at many local musical festivals and competitions including the UTV Choir of the Year competition. Each year the choir perform in the Market Place Theatre, Armagh as part of the school’s Spring Concert series.
In June 2010 the choir had the opportunity to travel to London and participate in choral workshops in the Westminister Cathedral choir school under their Director of Music, Martin Baker.
In 2009 and also in 2010 the choir had the pleasure to perform in concert with two highly acclaimed soloists William Dutton, a former BBC Chorister of the Year and former member of the Choirboys and also, Adam Urosevic, former soloist and member of the Vienna Boys’ Choir. The choir had the wonderful opportunity to perform in duet with each of the soloists.
The choir’s first public performance each year is their performance at Mass for the opening of the school year in St Patrick’s Cathedral.
The full SATB school choir rehearse every Monday after school from 3.30pm-4.30pm. Sectional rehearsals take place several times during the week at break time and lunch time.
The school orchestra is made up of pupils from years 8-14. The orchestra perform each year at our Spring Concert. The orchestra comprises of strings, woodwind brass and percussion. The orchestra have performed in a range of concert venues including Disneyland, Paris. Rehearsals for the school Orchestra take place once a week after school on a Wednesday 3.30pm-4.30pm.
Concerts, Recitals and Concert Tours
Throughout each school year the various musical groups have the opportunity to perform at a number of concerts and recitals.
Whole Class Instrumental Sound Start Concert
Each year all students from year 8 and 9 participate in a series of concerts to demonstrate the work that has been undertaken in each of the year 8 class instrumental tuition projects. Junior soloists will also have the opportunity to perform their solo examination performances in preparation for their forthcoming Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music practical examinations.
Annual Spring Concert
The Spring Concert takes place each year in The Market Place Theatre, Armagh. The Spring Concert is an opportunity for each of our extra-curricular musical groups: The Steel Band, Traditional Group, Orchestra and Choir to showcase their talent and to provide opportunities for our senior students to perform their solo performances ahead of their forthcoming AS and A level music examination
Newry and Portadown Music Festivals
All our music students and school ensembles are encouraged to compete in local musical festivals in various solo and ensemble categories alongside other schools.
Every two years one of our extra-curricular music groups has the opportunity to participate in an international concert tour. To date the groups have performed in the following countries; Paris, Barcelona, Cork, Dublin, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago and London
Educational Workshops and Recitals
Each year a range of visiting musicians and composers is invited into school to work with our students on composition, performance and recording techniques. All students in year 8 visit the Ulster Hall to hear the Ulster Orchestra perform in concert. Our senior students are encouraged to participate in our monthly orchestra visits to the Waterfront and Ulster halls.
Sandy Hill Steel Band
The steel band in the school was formed in 1998 and is made up of pupils from years 8-14. It draws its name from the Sandy Hill, the hill on which the school is situated.
The band plays a wide range of musical styles from Calypso, pop, classical, jazz to traditional Irish music. To date the band has given numerous performances at home and abroad, performing at many public and private charity events.
The Sandy Hill Steel Band have had good fortune to perform at the Belfast City Hall, Coleraine Town Hall, The Belfast Waterfront Hall and the Market Place Theatre, Armagh. In 2000 the Sandy Hill Steel Band travelled to Barbados and obtained a 3rd place in the Pan in Paradise competition, competing against other international steel bands.
The band made a second visit to the Caribbean in February 2004 when it participated in the Panorama Festival in Trinidad. The Sandy Hill Steel band made their first CD in 2005 entitled ‘The Sounds of Steel’ which celebrates some of the band’s best loved pieces.
The steel band have established links with other local steel bands and have performed with them in many concerts. Rehearsals for the Steel Band take place once a week after school on a Thursday.