Newcastle West and Area School of Music
In 1985, at a public meeting in Killeline golf club, it became apparent that there was an unprecedented demand for formal music education in the area. A committee was elected which later established a school of music in the Vocational school.
The music classes took place after school hours and continued late into the night. Students came from the surrounding area as well as from the Vocational School.
Classes were held in several instruments and the theory of music was also taught. Students paid a quarterly fee for tuition, and teachers were employed from the locality where possible.
A new and very welcome development was the setting up of a school orchestra which included a large selection of instruments such as violins, cello, flutes, clarinets, recorders, glockenspiels, percussion instruments, piano, guitar, voice training etc. for use by the students. Several students entered for Associated Board Music Exams and all passed with flying colours.
Talip Ozlan, from Turkey gave a musical performance with the instrument “the saz”.
Also in photo are Viki Nash, Deirdre Nash and Mary Cagney (music teacher)
Dan Sheehan (Music Teacher) and Claire Sheehan (School Secretary) at a School of Music Concert in the Turnpike, Newcastle West.
The highlight of 1987 was the school concert. Large audiences of parents and friends enjoyed the musical performances by students and teachers which ranged from modern songs on the guitar to traditional music on the accordion and classical pieces on the piano.
A recital by the widely acclaimed Douglas Gunn Ensemble took place at the school in October 1988 and was much appreciated by all who attended.
In the year 2000, Under the direction of Dan Sheehan, the school ran with a collection of instruments: piano, keyboard, violin, cello, flute, recorder, clarinet, all brass instruments, guitar, voice training, Junior Cert and Leaving Cert Music.
There was an enrolment of 105 students, some of whom were also learning more than one instrument. There were two orchestras, Junior and Senior with about 40 students. These orchestras have performed at various venues throughout the years and have visited another orchestra in Germany.
Students have been prepared for exams with the Royal Irish Academy of Music and Diploma students with the London College of Music and the London Victoria College.
Viki Nash, chairperson for 25 years and Mary Cagney, Dan Sheehan and Colette Moloney – directors – were the pioneers of the school. Acknowledgement and thanks go to all the teachers, secretary, the school of music committee, Co. Limerick VEC, parents and pupils whose hard work and dedication has made the school such a success since it first opened in October 1985.