RSD had the privilege of having Ulster Orchestra violinist, Danny McCann-Williams in school recently. Danny provided a masterclass for Napier Prize winner, Jeffrey Yau (Year 13), for excellence in strings performance. This hour-long lesson allowed Jeffrey to work on his violin technique as well as expressive interpretation of repertoire for his upcoming Grade 7 examination. Members of Royal Strings had the opportunity to also observe the masterclass and pick up some tips for the development of their own performance skills. Once again, we are indebted to former teacher, Mrs M. Napier for providing pupils with this experience.
On Saturday 23rd September, GCSE Music student and keen flautist, Lydia Carson, attended a masterclass with world-class musician, Sir James Galway. The event, which took place at Methodist College in Belfast, allowed around one hundred young people pick up many technical and expressive techniques to assist with the development of their flute playing from the virtuoso. There was also an opportunity to perform as a group alongside Galway which was deemed a privilege for all participants. Lydia remarked how she left the workshop feeling refreshed about how she would further develop her confidence and technical ability as a performer.
Grace Morrow (Yr10) is pictured on the left holding the shield for Best School Choir (14 years and under), won by our RSD Junior Choir at the Dungannon Music and Drama Festival this month. Hannah Ferguson (Yr12) is holding the trophy for Best School Choir (18 years and under) which was won by our Chamber Choir.
Congratulations to all staff and students involved on this fantastic achievement.
The Junior Concert was held last term, on 12th December and featured an array of talented pupils performing in many different musical, drama and dance ensembles. The RSD band got the evening off to a festive start with Hark The Herald Angels and White Christmas. This was followed by a variety of singing, dance, acting and musical instrument solos. Further acts to grace the stage included tap, modern and lyrical dance, a drama group, gymnastic duo and the Junior Choir.
Many hours of practise and preparation were put in to this concert by staff and students alike, all of whom are to be commended for such a successful evening’s entertainment. The concert also provided an opportunity for the RSD Charities Committee to raise money for a worthy cause, especially so close to Christmas time. During the interval tea, coffee and biscuits were provided for the audience to enjoy, raising funds of £150 for the Sponsor a Child initiative; organised by the Charities Committee alongside our school Scripture Union team.
The concert was a great success for pupils who took part, teachers who assisted and for the audience who thoroughly enjoyed the night’s entertainment.
Well done to the Chamber Choir and the Junior Choir for winning their sections of the Dungannon Music Festival. Jasmine Ashfield (Year 10) and Dion Di Maio (Year 11) presented the trophies to the school in Assembly on Tuesday 8 March.
Photos by Hugo Ho (Year 12)
The Junior Choir travelled to Portadown Music Festival on Wednesday 22 April and put in a fine performance which saw them take home the Miller Cup as winners of the Junior Choir class. The choir was also awarded the Education Committee Cup and a bursary of £200.
It is a bold move for any theatre company to take on a musical as monumental as Fiddler on the Roof. So RSD’s dramatic society and its new musical director Mr Sam Cuddy certainly weren’t playing it safe in presenting the story of Tevye, the milkman who struggles to understand how his Jewish faith and its traditions can be reconciled with the radical social ideas emerging in pre-revolutionary Russia. A marriage not arranged with the papa? Unheard of. Absurd!
The risk of staging such a demanding classic, brought with it a reward that was reaped by the delighted audiences who packed out the Assembly Hall on four successive nights in December.
The plot revolves around Tevye, and great responsibility rests upon the shoulders of the actor who plays this pivotal role, so casting a stage debutant is, well, unheard of… absurd! Yet on his first outing on the RSD stage, Matthew Stockdale was a revelation, and his portrayal of Tevye was a triumph. He held the audience all the way, from his opening explanation of the traditions of his people to his emotional farewell to family and friends when pogrom cruelly scatters the Jews of Anatevka.
“Love, it’s a new style,” Tevye declares as one by one his three eldest daughters, Tzeitel (Megan Forster/Ellen McLean), Hodel (Lucy Talbot) and Chava (Lauren Boyd) follow their hearts and arrange their own matches, ignoring the efforts of their irrepressible mother Golde (superbly portrayed by Abby Anderson) and the village matchmaker Yente (played with brilliant comic skill by Hannah Weir).
The other principal characters completed a truly talented lineup. The suitors, David Saygi (Fyedka), Matthew Magowan (Motel) and Patrick Forster (Perchik), all gave accomplished performances both in terms of acting and singing. Meanwhile Reuben Morrow (as Lazar Wolf) and Archie Hanna (as the Constable) showed great wit and timing in carrying out their roles.
The show bounded along effortlessly from one vivid scene and vibrant song to another. The music, played by a live ensemble, and sung with gusto by a fantastic chorus, was simply outstanding, whilst the lighting, the sound, the set, the costumes and makeup all contributed to an overall effect that could only be described as professional.
Congratulations to the RSD staff who produced the play, Mr Cuddy, Mr McDowell and Mr Boyd, as well as visiting director Wilfie Pyper. And well done to all the pupils and staff who were involved on the stage or behind the scenes.
After many requests back in September, Mr Cuddy investigated the possibility of starting a pipe band in RSD. The school was successful in garnering the assistance of two tutors from the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association, namely Mr Carmichael (Pipes) and Mr McGorran (Drums). Pupils received weekly lessons with their tutor and some have already passed their foundation exam. Others have successfully auditioned for the Ulster Scots Juvenile Band and will play at the Walled Tattoo in Londonderry in August. The RSD Pipe Band was extremely well received at the Spring Concert and some also performed with the Sperrin Choir and Mr Carmichael in the Burnavon Arts Centre, Cookstown on 8 May. Again, the audience thoroughly enjoyed their performances, and in particular, the percussive skills of Richard Black on snare drum.