The Traditional Group is now in its ninth year and is coordinated by Mrs Dolan (V.P). This year we are delighted to welcome back Mr Niall McClean to St.Bernard's, he will teach tin whistle to our Year 4-7 classes and also support the traditional group on Mondays. There are currently thirty pupils attending the group every Monday from 3.05-3.50pm in the Assembly Hall.
The children play a range of instruments: guitar, fiddle, flute, harp, tin whistle, cello and bodhran. Throughout the year the group enjoys playing at a variety of school events: Year 1 Open Night, St.Patrick's Day Concert, Confirmation and various Masses throughout the year. The children are introduced to a range of tunes including: marches, polkas, jigs and slow airs.
The school entered the Holywood Festival for the first time in November 2014. The group participated in two events and took 1st place in the Traditional Music Cup and were classifed by the ajudicator as 'outstanding'. This was a massive achievement for the young musicians ... an experience that they will never forget. The Holywood Festival has now become an annual event for our trad group in November.
Last year the traditional group treated parents and grandparents to an impromptu playground performance at home pick up times in the playground just before St.Patrick's Day. Thankfully the weather was cooperative!
In June 2016 the Traditional Group performed with classes from Primary 4-7 at a concert in St.Bernadette's Church (with proceeds going towards the church refurbishing fund) along with Ards. Comhaltas Ceoiltoiri Eireann who are led by Niall McClean. The concert was fabulous and parents and parishioners alike were amazed at the musical talent on display. All performers received a standing ovation.
Our annual school prize giving has now incorporated an award for the 'Traditional Group Player of the Year' this award has been won by Ella Choda (2015), Aoife Lovell (2016) and Lana Rutherford (2017). Many of our musicians have continued to play Irish music in their post primary schools and different Comhaltas groups. Thanks to the tuition of Niall many of our pupils have taken exams in traditional music in fiddle and tin whistle with fantastic results.
St.Bernard's is very keen to develop Irish Traditional Music amongst our pupils. We are fortuntate that Niall McClean (All Ireland Fiddle Champion) can offer private tuition in fiddle, tin whistle, guitar and bodhran on Monday afternoons. Any parents who are interested in private lessons for their children can contact Niall on : 07960072218.