The Schola of Clongowes Wood College recently took 1st Prize in the National Secondary Schools Competition for Choirs in the Liturgical Music Section. Directed by Cyril Murphy, the Schola performed John Rutter’s A Clare Benediction (featured in this podcast) and the South African folk hymn Siyahamba, and they were awarded 90% for their performance coming ahead of seven other choirs nationally. This is the first competition the Schola have entered since their formation seven years ago and there was great jubilation amongst its very young members.
The adjudicator Ms Bernie Sherlock of DIT College of Music remarked in her summing up that she was amazed to be awarding this trophy to an all-boys choir from a boarding school. This was given the reluctance of boys to get involved in choral singing and given that they were up against both girls schools and mixed voice choirs from co-educational schools where the higher register voices are in more plentiful supply.
Commenting on the fact that just 21 voices had such a beautiful blend and tone, Ms Sherlock complimented the Schola on their musicality and “assured performance”. Earlier in the day The Clongowes Junior Choir under the direction of Ms Anne Conaghan also took 3rd Place in the Junior Choirs National Competition.