The Redemptorist Centre of Music (RCM) band gives students an opportunity to perform, travel and take part in many social events, and with the new term starting the band will be gearing up for many performances over the next school year.
However the band had one particularly memorable St Patrick’s weekend a couple of years ago when they braved wind and snow and gave their best to perform on the Ray Darcy show and then return to Limerick to take part in the international band competition the following morning.
Spirits were high as the band received a warm welcome from Limerick crowds as they paraded through Limerick to the school on Island road, where members then boarded the bus for Dublin to take part in the latest parade in the country on the Ray Darcy show.
The band received a warm welcome from RTE staff, and following a few rehearsals along with the other groups who were taking part, the parade went from blizzard snow conditions outside into the heat and bright lights of the studio.
In the midst of the excitement and hustle and bustle, one member of the RCM band Oisín Dowling who according to his mum Barbara also a member of the band, is a high functioning autistic 12 year old, had his dream come true when he met Ray Darcy.
“Ray Darcy will never know what he has done for my sons confidence, and well being. He hugged him, never recoiled when he wrapped his arms around Ray, he chatted with him and never made him feel like the child that is different.
“Then Ray came down to every group before he went on air, and when he reached the RCM, he waved and said hello to everyone, wished them all luck, and then he spotted Oisin, and said ‘Hi Oisín’. From the child’s point, Ray is now his friend, from ours as parents, Ray didn’t just meet him, he remembered him and to the others in the RCM, you made Oisín special for all the right reasons,” said Barbara.
Teacher at the school and past Director Dr Shannon Burns said, “St. Patrick’s weekend and the International Band Parade are always a very special time for the band to get out into the public space and show people who we are and what we do. “This year, being invited to perform on the Ray D’Arcy Show just raised the level of excitement and pushed the band to perform at their very best. Bringing a band away is no easy task especially when something like this comes up at very short notice.
“The logistics of getting a band anywhere is difficult, but doing events like this brings the band closer together. I truly believe that banding and bonding make a huge difference in any group’s performance capabilities”.
Formed in 2010 the band has approximately 50 members ranging in age from 7 to 60 years old, and according to conductor and musical director of the band Andrew Jordan, the ensembles were one of the main reasons the Centre of Music was established for music education but also for learning social skills and personal development of members.
“It was great PR for the band but what’s more important is the whole experience of doing it for the social point of view. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see how television works, to see the studios, but people would have chatted and mixed on that day that would never have spoken, and there was a lot of bonding.
“Because of the age group it’s a real little community, everybody just looks after each other, people know who to look out for. Students I taught are now teaching some of the younger kids so that’s how it works,” said Andrew.