The CALL: Creative Arts, Literature and Learning
The CALL, February 4th - 9th 2019
Celebrating the legacy of Mr Darragh O’Connell, Fr Joe Brennan SJ and Fr Kennedy O’Brien SJ.
The CALL was initiated to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of alumni in so many artistic and creative disciplines as well as to encourage current students who have ambitions in the creative arts, and open the eyes of others to possibilities of which they might never have thought.
It has been immensely successful in its first three years and hugely popular with the students. The contribution by the Past to events, talks and workshops has been exceptionally generous and demonstrated the wide variety of possibilities open.
The sad events of 2018 have robbed us of three men whose contribution to the creative life of the students was immense: Fr Joe Brennan in music, Fr Kennedy O’Brien in literature and Darragh O’Connell in art. How appropriate, then, to dedicate this year’s CALL to celebrating them.
As Darragh’s death abroad and in retirement gave us no opportunity to formally acknowledge his passing we propose to put particular emphasis on art during CALL week with participation in talks and workshops by his former pupils and with an exhibition in the school of their work. The week will end with an evening Mass in commemoration of him, followed by a concert which will in turn recall Fr Joe’s contribution to music in the school. The literary events of the week will be dedicated to the memory of Fr Kennedy.
Current plans are for the CALL to take place in the week beginning February 4th 2019, with Mass for Darragh O’Connell and the concert on Saturday 9th.
Please make a note now of these proposed dates.
for The CALL
19th June 2018
The Third CALL
The third celebration of the arts in Gonzaga, the CALL, took place during the week 29 January - 2 Febraury 2018. Guest speakers were past pupils Judge Brian Cregan, author of Parnell: a novel; Rob Broderick aka Abandoman, comedian; Rob McAllister, bass‐baritone; and Neil Horgan, oral story-teller. There was also an unveiling of a painting recently presented to the College by Darragh O’Connell, former art teacher in Gonzaga, which is now on display in the Sutherland Library.
Photos of the various events can be seen here.
The Second CALL
The second CALL, took place during the week 6 - 11 Febraury 2017. Well done and thanks to everyone involved for putting on such an inspiring series of workshops and exhibits during the week, and for a most enjoyable Gala Evening on the Saturday. Photos of the workshops can be seen here and of the Gala Evening here. Congratulations to the joint winners of the Barry Cunnane Award: Michael Carey (S4A) and Hugo O'Regan (S6A). See photos of the prize winners here.
The First CALL
In November 2015, the College hosted a new event on behalf of the Gonzaga Union entitled THE CALL (Creative Arts Literature & Learning). It brought together those with experience and knowledge to inspire students in Gonzaga to engage, create and celebrate what can be achieved within the world of creative arts. It covered a wide range of disciplines from architecture to sculpture, music, writing, acting, craftwork, singing, dance, graphic design, culinary arts, landscaping, graffiti artists, technical and product design.
During the week, various alumni came into the school to talk about the areas they work and provide workshops to the students where they could ask questions and learn more.
Ian Finlay, an award-winning photographer with some of his iconic images (U2 Boy) gave a talk to a packed theatre and fielded lots of questions. He was followed during the week by Philip McDonagh on poetry and writing, Michael Cooney, who gave a master class on dancing and choreography, whilst Ed Guiney opened students' eyes to the world of film-making, and Cian McLoughlin did a practical demonstration of his approach to painting.
At the end of the week, the Union hosted a Gala Evening show, all of it produced, presented, written and performed by alumni and current students of the school. David Davin-Power was MC for the evening and introduced Paul Keelan, past-president of the Union who had the original idea of having the arts event for alumni in the school. Singing teacher, Aoife Dunne, then led the Schola Cantorum in performing two numbers to get the show off to a rousing start. Actor and director Hugh O'Conor gave a thrilling recital of the poetry of fellow alumnus, Macdara Woods. Andrew Scott, fresh from performing in James Bond's Spectre, talked about his life and career as an actor in a half-hour interview.
Some of the emerging talent that is currently in Gonzaga was best exemplified by the performance of student, Max O'Neill (Third Year) with his soprano solos, followed by an ensemble cast of students performing The Rude Mechanicals at the intermission and on stage, directed by alumnus Bryan Moriarty.
Current director of Kilkenny Arts Festival, Eugene Downes, argued passionately and posed a few questions for the audience with his talk on 'Art and Life' and was followed by the brilliant pianists, Finghin Collins and Hugh Tinney, performing some pieces solo and in duet that had the audience rapt and rising to their feet when they finished.
The final, and somewhat poignant, end to the evening was the presentation of The Barry Cunnane Award, selected from over 30 students who had entered a school-wide competition in painting, visual arts, photography, music composition, performances, and writing. Barry Cunnane, an alumnus of Gonzaga who went on to become an actor, was tragically killed in 2003 in a shooting incident in Chicago. The Union was delighted that his family attended on the evening to hear how he was remembered, and to present the award to the selected winner, Joe Prendergast, a young talented writer, who had written a series of three books for children The Great Fragola Brothers, that were subsequently published to national acclaim. He is pictured here with Barry's mother, Monica Cunnane.
THE CALL brought people together in a spirit of cooperation and desire to make something worthwhile. Its success happened because of the combined hard work and commitment of alumni, teaching staff and students. As Paul Keelan said in his programme notes:
"The changing world we live in gives our young people many chances and opportunities to develop their creative and cultural skills. The Gonzaga Union wants THE CALL go out to a wider number of alumni and others within the Gonzaga community to get involved and help it develop and grow in the coming years. It will provide an opportunity for the many alumni who want to give back to the school, who are eager to show others what they do and what they've achieved and hopefully realise the dreams and possibilities for others.”
Dermot McCrum, event organiser
View photographs of the talks and workshops here.
Photographs of the gala evening can be seen here.
Photographs of the art exhibition can be seen here.