An Meitheal Mór - Global Citizens Together

Artist Name(s) Sarah Murphy & Feargus Murphy & Cheylene Murphy & Seamus Devenny
Artwork title An Meitheal Mór - Global Citizens Together
Context/Background The primary aim of the music commission was to engage an artist who would embrace a process of engagement, learning and creativity with the students, staff and, where applicable, parents, of the school to realise a project leading to the creation and performance of an original musical work(s) that expresses the core cultural and social identity of the school and its community. Through the creation of this new work, and as an integral part of the composition process, the commissioner aimed to ensure that a wide range of students was catered for musically and that there was a broad involvement across the school community in the process of creating the work.
Description

An Meitheal Mór - Global Citizens Together is a collection of five new pieces of music created by the students of Scoil San Phroinsias NS with Wall2Wall Music, presented in five music videos. Each piece explores global citizenship from the perspective of the school community.

The Board of Management of Scoil San Phroinsias National School in association with Music Generation Galway City and the Contemporary Music Centre commissioned a musical artist to deliver a project of learning and creation under the Per Cent for Art Scheme, funded by the Department of Education and Skills. The project was also supported by Galway City Council Arts Service.

The artist selected for the commission was Wall2Wall Music, a group of composers and music facilitators. Wall2Wall Music proposed the project An Meitheal Mór - Global Citizens Together.

The project focused on exploring global citizenship from the perspective of the school community through music and composition workshops, and was participatory and collaborative in nature. The final proposed outcome of the project was a performance of up to an hour duration made up of a variety of pieces that could include large scale and smaller scale pieces as well as a soundscape of voices and images co-composed by the artist together with students at the school.

The project began in November 2019, when Wall2Wall Music presented the theme of global citizenship to the students to creatively engage with - a topic that the school had recently explored with a view to welcoming everyone's voice. Every class in the school was asked to bring in objects for a Portable Museum of Cultural Heritage and to participate in lyric writing and music workshops on the theme of global citizenship. In February and March 2019, Wall2Wall Music’s composers and music facilitators visited the sixth classes and turned their classrooms upside down, filling them with new instruments and creative activity!

One week after Wall2Wall Music's final workshop with the students in March 2020, the Covid-19 lockdown was imposed which resulted in the closure of the school and the cancellation of the final performance - the main artistic output and legacy of the project.

While everyone was disappointed that the music would not be performed on stage in the Black Box Theatre in June 2020 as originally planned, Wall2Wall Music created a lockdown project, sending backing tracks to the students and getting them to record themselves singing the songs they had created in the workshops. Piecing together audiovisual footage and photos taken over the course of the workshops, they created music videos of the five new works, which became the main creative output of this Per Cent for Art Scheme project.

  • The Big Why is an epic piece of music in three movements - The Long Sigh, Extinction and We Can Do Better. The Big Why came out of a 6th class brainstorming session and discussion about the challenges and concerns facing the planet, people and animals. .
  • Dreams For Our Future is a song that explores hopes and dreams the students have for the world. The result is a slow, moving ballad that aims to unite us all - we all have dreams, we all have to look out for one another. .
  • I Am A Global Citizen celebrates the amazing diversity of cultural backgrounds that make up the Scoil San Phroinsias community. Using a choir of the children's voices and percussion from the Scoil San Phroinsias marching band, this work reflects the children’s sense of responsible global citizenship and the need to care for people, animals and the planet. .
  • Hear Our Voices is rooted in ideas and sounds that emanated from music and lyric writing workshops that took place in every class in the school. In these workshops, the students explored what it means to be a global citizen by gathering objects for the Portable Museum of Cultural Heritage, brainstorming, exploring ideas, making sounds and writing lyrics. This is the new school song incorporating the lyrics and voices of the whole student body..
  • Swim To The Moon is a collection of sights and sounds from the workshops, the Scoil San Phroinsias community and surrounding area, composed and arranged into an evocative soundscape. Audio composition by Feargus Murphy, videography by Cheylene Murphy..

Two of the videos involving the sixth class students of the school - The Big Why and Dreams For Our Future - were released publicly in July 2020. The public launch of all five videos took place in September 2020 in an online exhibition on Vimeo, https://vimeo.com/showcase/7530651, in line with Culture Night celebrations. A permanent visual display which documents the creative process of this project was installed in September 2020 on the school premises. The visual display contains QR codes which allows you to watch the videos created as part of the project on a mobile device.  

Mediation

The videos of the newly composed pieces of music are featured on each partner organisations’ websites:

  • Contemporary Music Centre: https://www.cmc.ie/features/public-launch-global-citizens-together-cent-art-scheme-scoil-san-phroinsias-ns
  • Music Generation Galway City: musicgenerationgalwaycity.ie/globalcitizenstogether/
  • Wall2Wall Music: https://wall2wallmusic.org/2020/09/global-citizens-together-public-launch/
  • Scoil San Phroinsias Blog: https://scoilsanphroinsias.scoilnet.ie/blog/wall-2-wall-project/

The videos are also featured on the RTÉ Learn website: https://www.rte.ie/learn/2020/0915/1165281-children-celebrate-global-citizenship/

The public launch of the project in September was also part of the online programme of Galway City’s 2020 Culture Night celebrations: https://culturenight.ie/event/global-citizens-together-a-per-cent-for-art-scheme-wall2wall-music-global-citizens-together-a-per-cent-for-art-scheme/   

Sarah Murphy (Artistic Director, Wall2Wall Music) and Kieran Tierney (Principal, Scoil San Phroinsias N.S) were interviewed on Galway Talks on Galway Bay fm in advance of the public launch of the project in September: https://www.facebook.com/galwaybayfm/posts/3476057872447012

Biographies

Wall2Wall Music was founded by flautist, composer and facilitator Sarah Murphy in 2010. Sarah wanted to engage people through immersive, inclusive and transformative musical experiences. To share her love of music making with others by creating new works collaboratively with like-minded professionals and people of all ages, experiences and backgrounds. Since Wall2Wall Music’s first project as part of North 55-7’s Illuminate in Malin Head, Co. Donegal, their experience and reputation has grown through the creativity and energy of our team of facilitators and the many and diverse projects they have led in schools and communities across Ireland and the UK. 

Sarah Murphy is a flautist, composer and music facilitator, co-Founder and artistic director of Wall2Wall Music and Creative Schools Associate for Arts Council Ireland. Her career began in London after studying at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama and has continued across the island of Ireland since relocating in 1998. Her highly varied career has involved highlight performances, compositions and music education projects.

As a composer Sarah is well known for her love of music from different cultures which is best embodied in her works Taiko Love and The Swan and The Crane blending Irish and Japanese traditional music styles, premiered at the Foyle O-Bon Festival and most recently featured at the World Taiko Conference 2020. As a performer Sarah has a varied career performing classical, contemporary and world music on the flute including annual performances as part of Flutes in Tuscany summer festival, Festive Flutes performance at the Canadian Flute Convention, the award-winning children’s animation Whistleless, sell out performances with Juan Martin at London’s Southbank Centre and National Concert Hall Dublin, and performing with Orbestra at the Istanbul International Festival. As artistic director of Wall2Wall Music Sarah has led a wide range of collaborative projects across Ireland and the UK. Some highlights include: At Sixes and Seven with 54 young musicians 14-19 years old in partnership with Barbican Creative Learning, the Verbal Arts Centre and the London Symphony Orchestra during the City of Culture 2013; the Soundwaves project for Donegal Music Education, Music Generation Ireland and Arts Council of Ireland partnership which explores the skills of a tweny-first century musician with young musicians and An Meitheal Mór - Global Citizens Together.

Seamus Devenny is a session artist, tutor and facilitator, based in Carndonagh, Co Donegal. As a session artist he has worked with artists including Moya Brennan, Mundy, Duke Special, Lee Mathews and Kate O Callaghan. He is a drum kit and violin tutor for the Donegal Music Education Partnership since 2005 and musician in the community in Donegal. As a facilitator and director with Wall2Wall Music Seamus has delivered Creative music workshops in schools and with communities throughout Ireland and the UK.

Cheylene Murphy is a songwriter, musician and creative who has toured the globe with her songs. As a teenager she started writing songs with her indie-pop band Wonder Villains, performing synths and vocals which led to releasing a record, gaining a publishing deal and performing across Europe, in America and Africa. In the last few years Cheylene has found her voice in her most recent project Beauty Sleep. Merging lush synths with groovy guitar lines and catchy vocals, 2019 has seen Beauty Sleep release their debut album ‘Be Kind’ via Quiet Arch Records, a record Cheylene co-wrote and co-produced with Ryan McGroarty. Be Kind has seen them gain critical acclaim from The Irish Times, Clash Magazine and BBC Radio 6 and Radio One..

Cheylene has also worked as a session musician and songwriter on many projects outside her two main bands, performing bass and violin on records and on tours and co-writing for pitches including as a songwriter on Christmas movie A Christmas Star. Alongside her artistic practice, Cheylene has been involved in starting up collectives and communities to support the NI music scene. This has seen her put on events, produce, shoot and edit videos and photos and promote and champion local artists. With a passion for supporting and encouraging up and coming musicians, Cheylene often brings these skills to panels and workshops for young musicians, including projects across Ireland with Wall2Wall Music.

Feargus Murphy graduated from the Music and Sound Recording (Tonmeister) course at The University of Surrey, and has been working as a freelance musician, sound engineer and workshop facilitator since. He has worked as a music facilitator for Wall2Wall Music across Ireland, including being responsible for the recording of material created and the performances. He has also worked with groups such as Future Band, The Messengers and Impossibilities through Barbican Creative Learning in London. .

He regularly incorporates sound recording into his workshops; using portable recording technology to gather sound clips with participants in their surroundings and then manipulating these to create soundscapes or instruments that the participants can trigger. He created a soundscape exploring the environment and the stories of Mid and East Antrim through their Opening Doors project called Foghorn. This was created through recordings made travelling around the county as well as clips of stories told by people in story gathering and lyric writing workshops. He records and produces music with bands / ensembles and co-ordinates live sound for events. .

Commission Type Government Department
Commissioner Name Scoil San Phroinsias National School
Commissioning process Open call
Project commission dates November 1, 2019 - September 1, 2020
Artform Music
Art Practice Arts and education
Funded By Department of Education and Skills
Percent for art Yes
Budget Range 35000 - 70000 euro
Project commission start date 01/11/2019
Project commission end date 01/09/2020
Location Scoil San Phroinsias N.S
County Galway
Town Galway City
Street Address Tirellan Heights, Headford Road
Content contributor(s) Stephanie Ford
Relationship to project Project Manager
Public engagement

The entire school community was engaged in the making of this artwork, from students, teachers and support staff, to parents.

Wall2Wall Music also hosted a live online preview party of the videos for the 6th class students and special invited guests in the school around the time that the final performance in the Black Box Theatre in Galway was due to take place (June 2020). This ensured that the students had the opportunity to experience the outcome of the creative project they had been working on all year before they moved on to secondary school.

Associated professionals / Specialists involved

Visual display design

Alice Kearney, Graphic Designer: 

Project management and support

Stephanie Ford, Project Manager, Contemporary Music Centre
Karen Dervan, Music Development Officer, Music Generation Galway City

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Nazareth Housing Association provides independent living houses for individuals and couples who are 65 and over and on the Sligo County Council housing list.  Nazareth Village is comprised of 48 houses in a garden setting.  The Village was financed as a public-private partnership between Nazareth Housing Association and Sligo County Council with funding from the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government.  

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