What a brilliant week!
The end of the school year is always a strange time for us at Masamba, as all normal activities cease, and all sorts of challenging and fun projects present themselves. Some of our existing projects are finishing up, which might mean school shows or performances at open days. Also, new schools get in touch, which might want to experiment with something new as an end of year treat for students. Either way, it’s all a welcome break from the regular term work, which at this stage of the year, can get a little monotonous!
This week, we had the opportunity to work with a new school in the form of Greystones Community National School, which is currently based in a complex of portacabins on the grounds of Greystones Rugby Club. It is a new school, with classes from Junior Infants to 2ndclass, and growing every year. It is run by a dynamic team, with several very active parents. It is also in receipt of funding and supports from the Arts Council, as part of the new Creative Schools Programme, which is where we came in. Creative Schools is an exciting new initiative, which we hope will vastly increase access to all art forms for the school children of Ireland. On Monday and Tuesday, we delivered seven workshops to a total of 180 students. On Thursday, we revisited the school to deliver an interactive performance, revisiting some of the ideas we introduced in the workshops, and throwing in some new ideas for good measure. It was 45 minutes of pure magic, and a lot of laughs!
In addition, on Wednesday, we revisited our home-from-home in Scoil Iosagain, where we are five weeks into a six week programme, which will culminate in a school show next week. This year, we are working with 5 groups, totalling about 100 students in all, and the pressure is now on to button up the pieces of music each group will play in the show. All the groups are working hard, and no doubt we will have a great time next Wednesday, along with lashings of cake!
On the band side, we played at the official launch of Pride 2019 on Tuesday. This was a great event for many reasons, but for us what made it extra special was playing in the historic General Post Office on O’Connell Street. This building has huge significance in recent Irish history, and it was great to get to see if from ‘behind the scenes’. The launch itself was a big success, and we have been offered several opportunities to play at the Pride parade as a result – however, we have already been booked for months;-)
Tomorrow (Saturday), we are revisiting the Phoenix Park, and our friends at Athletics Ireland, to play at the Irish Runner 5 Mile Run. We are performing at our usual spot at the junction of Furze Road and Ordinance Road – if we’d known we were going to play there so many times this year, we could have built a little grandstand;-)
Next week is no less varied, as we complete our project in Scoil Iosagain, and spend a couple of days in another new school – Dublin 7 Educate Together. This is another school I receipt of Creative Schools support from the Arts Council, and will offer us an opportunity to work with highly experienced community musician Thomas Johnston – all good!
Finally, next week gives us an opportunity to return to a school we have done a lot of work in over the years – Scoil Treasa Naofa on Donore Avenue. before we worked in Scoil Iosagain, before we worked in St. James’s Primary School, almost before the dawn of time itself, we worked in Scoil Treasa Naofa, so it will be great to get back! We are delivering a half day there with the 5thand 6th classes, supported by our Dublin City Council Arts Office grant, and of course our Community Services Funding, which supports all of our work. It will be great to get back to this super little school and to make some new friends!