RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet visits St. Mary’s

On Thursday last students from St. Mary’s Secondary School, Mallow were treated to an hour-long performance from the world famous RTÉ Vanbrugh Quartet. Gregory Ellis, Simon Aspell, Christopher Marwood and Keith Pascoe (also known as the RTÉ String Quartet), performed music by Bartók, Zhou Long and Shostakovick in the school’s state of the art Aemilian Theatre. Exploring how music can tell a story and paint pictures in our imaginations, the girls from St. Mary’s were taken on a journey to Germany, China and Estonia through a diverse mix of musical style and technique. The RTÉ Quartet was founded in 1985 and won the London International String Quartet Competition in 1988. It is one of Europe’s most successful quartets, internationally recognised for its beauty of sound, clarity of texture and integrity of interpretation within an unusually wide and varied range of repertoire. The performance was part of the ‘Tuning-Up’ initiative being organised and managed by West Cork Music as part of Cork County Council’s Arts in Schools Programme. It is the aim of the programme to bring the best of Irish performers of the classical and traditional repertoire to perform in schools throughout Cork county. As part of the visit, students were afforded time to ask questions and generate discussion about classical music.

History Students Embrace Modern Technology

A group of fifth year students from St. Mary’s Secondary School are leading the way in the use of technology for the purpose of heritage and conservation. They are participating in the ‘100 Histories of Fota House Project’ being organised by the Irish Heritage Thrust and funded by the National Digital Learning Repository (NDLR). As part of the project, Dr. Danielle O’Donovan, an IT expert, came to visit the school on Wednesday 19th September to facilitate a one day workshop on how to create apps. The students, while on a tour to Fota House during Transition Year, were challenged to look at history in a new way, using technology. They were set the task of proposing a series of history apps, with the best app being chosen for development. The chosen app was presented to Minister for the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation and also at the Department of Education, Séan Sherlock on Friday 18th May earlier this year. At the time he commented: “This project is very exciting and creative, it is reflective of how the future of education can be and shows how we can use modern technologies and ideas to teach subjects such as history”. The visit of Dr. Danielle O’Donovan represents the next step in this exciting project. The app in question is a game aimed at moving upward through the ranks of Fota House from chambermaid to the owner Arthur Barry Smith. The game will include graphics from the house and allow players to move from room to room carrying out jobs as they increase their social status. The aim is that users will get a view of life at the time. The students from St. Mary’s are using MITs ‘App Inventor’ to develop their Fota Game App. According to Dr. O’Donovan: ‘It is basic computer programming minus the code’. The girls were able to test their app using Hannspree Android Tablets provided by Fota House.