Twenty five years a singing and dancing - that’s a real education

Poor old Batt. He was damned if he did and damned if he didn’t, so he did and took all the damnation that was thrown at him and then changed his mind in case there wasn’t enough damning.

In fairness to the Education Minister, the country was crying out for some leadership and with Dempsey away sunning himself in Malta and the Minister for Snow (Gormley ) failing to connect with the electorate this side of the Shannon, Batt took the bull by the horns and made a decision. The problem with our politicians is that when we call for some decisiveness we don’t always get the right decision. But a decision he made nonetheless and it wasn’t his fault the weather people got it wrong. In fairness they had been pretty good at bringing us the woeful news of snow, frost, ice, and fog over the Christmas period so he had no reason to believe the awful situation they painted for this week wouldn’t come true.

So the schools were closed. And then they were opened. And the debated raged as to whether the lost days would be made up. Some teachers claimed the additional time off was just rewards given the level of cuts taken by the public sector.

Either way most schools have reopened and the children are back to learning.

On a different note Castlebar pantomime opened their 25th anniversary show in the Royal Theatre on Wednesday night and it continues until Sunday. Sing a Song of Sixpence definitely offers the huge junior chorus, most from primary school and the early years of secondary school, a real education.

They were outstanding. The show as a whole was superb with Castlebar’s finest singing, dancing, and acting their hearts out after months of preparation.

But what was apparent was the level of confidence that these children will take from participating in this wonderful production. To have the opportunity to grace a stage as splendid as that in the Royal Theatre, amid some of the town’s best singers and musicians, is an experience they will carry through life and one which will stand to them forever.

The highlight of the show was when the whole cast congregated on stage and belted out some classics which had the audience enthralled as the harmonies drifted out across the auditorium.

Confidence building is something all children should be taught. It can be easy for shy children to never put themselves forward and always blend into the background. But teachers, thankfully, these days for the most part don’t allow this to happen. There is an onus on parents and guardians also to ensure their charges are given every opportunity to develop all aspects of their personalities.

The children of Castlebar who grew up in the town over the past 25 years have a lot to thank the pantomime committee for. Families have gone through the pantomime ranks and are now involved as adults. New faces appear on stage every year and it is no mean feat to choreograph and keep disciplined the dozens of children, as well as the rowdy gang of adults who have been selected in the senior chorus and as leads, but the pantomime committee did it again and they should take a bow themselves for giving this fabulous opportunity to the town’s youth.

Well done to all involved on another excellent production and may you enjoy another successful 25 years and beyond. Sing a Song of Sixpence runs in the TF Royal Theatre until Sunday Janaury 17.


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