The Music Department at Loreto Omagh provides the pupils with many and varied opportunities to be involved in extra-curricular music. This ranges from:
1) Junior Choir (non-auditioning)– for our Year 8 and 9 students
2) Senior Choir (auditioning) – for students from Years 10 to 14
3) Concert Traditional Group (auditioning) – open to girls from all year groups
4) Pupil-led groups
5) Provision of vocal and instrumental tuition
6) Musicals (please see Drama Department section for further information)
Involvement in extra-curricular musical activities provides pupils with the opportunity to develop a range of skills and accrue benefits which contribute to their personal development as individuals, which will stand to them throughout their lives. Some of the benefits of extra-curricular music activities are:
1) Junior Choir
Loreto Junior is non-auditioning and offers girls the chance to join a choir for the first time or to continue their choral singing from their primary schools. We are very lucky in the West Tyrone area to have a number of excellent primary school choirs whose members feed into our Junior Choir. The Junior Choir focuses on fostering a love for, and enjoyment of, choral music of all types and performs at various liturgies throughout the year (Year 8 Mass, the Christmas liturgy etc.), and competes at the West Tyrone Feis each year. They also get the opportunity to perform with the Senior Choir. The Junior Choir acts as a training choir for the Loreto Senior Choir and rehearses at lunchtime once a week, under the direction of Mrs Gwawr McGirr.
2) Senior Choir:
Loreto Senior School Choir has a proud tradition, now spanning 32 years. Notable achievements have included: Choir winners of Prague Young Bohemia Choir Competition 2019, finalists in UTV ‘Choir of the Year’, BBC TV features and broadcast masses. The Choir has also recorded a CD and performed in religious cantatas involving singers from the whole community. They have toured and performed abroad extensively, e.g. Prague, Vienna, Moscow, St Petersburg and London.
Entry to the choir is by audition and the choir meets for rehearsal a total of four times a week – with 3 sectional practices at lunchtimes and a full choir practice after school each Thursday. In September 2019, the Senior Choir were very fortunate to take part in a choral workshop with international choral trainer Michele Josia from Italy – www.michelejosia.com
Loreto Senior Choir will be travelling to Prague to compete in the Young Bohemia Choral Competition in March 2024.
3) String Group
The string group is made up of the string players in the school, many of whom receive string tuition in the school. The string group rehearses in the run-up to performances at school events such as Prize Night and Open Night and performs a varied repertoire.
3) Concert Traditional Group
The Concert Traditional Group meets on Tuesdays after-school and is run by Mrs Gwawr McGirr and Ms Catherine Dunne, the Music Service string tutor at the school, who is also an accomplished fiddle player. Entry to the group is by audition and players perform to a high standard. The group performs at the Strule Arts Centre, at Open Night and other school events and liturgies. The Concert Traditional Group will be competing in the Prague Young Bohemia Music Festival in March 2024. There are many talented traditional players at Loreto – many of whom compete successfully at County, Ulster and All-Ireland level in CCE and Scór competitions.
4) Pupil-Led Groups
GCSE Music and Senior pupils showing leadership skills as well as excellent instrumental /vocal skills may be selected to lead an ensemble within the school for a period of 6 weeks or more. This opportunity exists to nurture group and peer leadership skills, time management and planning skills, as well as ensemble leading skills, contributing to their development as individuals. Pupils are mentored by Mrs McGirr and/or other staff members to ensure they feel supported and confident in this role.
In 2022/23 there are pupil-led groups for the following: