Our School of Music was established in 1981, our students taking grade examinations with the Trinity Guildhall School of Music and Drama, London. The bandroom was designated as an official examination centre.
Classes are taught by senior band members, several of whom hold, or are in the process of obtaining, third level music and/or teaching qualifications. Fees are set at an accessible level to avoid the elitism that is all too often associated with music tuition and to ensure that the band remains a central part of the wider community. One teacher acts as Director of the School with overall responsibility for administration.
Many of our students have used the knowledge gained to take music as an extra subject in their Junior and Leaving Certificate examinations, while several current band members are studying music at third level or have already received degree qualification. Several others have developed professional careers with the Bands of the Defence Forces and the Band of An Garda Siochana.
The success of the School led to the establishment in the mid-1990s of a youth band. Players are drawn from the grade classes and receive tuition in a real band format, augmenting their individual tuition and ensuring they have already gained considerable band experience before becoming members of the senior band. The youth band is conducted by one of our more experienced teachers, usually a principal (section leader) in the senior band. The present conductor is Stephen Murray (principal cornet).
The youth band features in our band concerts and rehearses at least once a week, sometimes twice in preparation for concerts or other engagements. The youth band has competed twice in the NIBA Championships in the Ulster Hall, and has also performed in local schools and churches.