On 14th December 2011, the two universities and the seminary came together in a celebration of Christmas that was attended by leaders of Church and State, as well as the Diplomatic Corps, leaders of education, industry and enterprise. Guests were invited by the two Presidents, Monsignor Hugh Connolly of Saint Patrick’s College and Professor Philip Nolan of NUI Maynooth.
The tradition of the Carol Service in Maynooth, involving readings and carols, goes back to 1969, and the invitation has grown to be the most desired invitation to receive in the lead up to Christmas.
What makes Maynooth unique in Irish education is the breath and diversity of choirs and musicians, as well as a tradition of over two hundred years.
Professor Philip Nolan read a lesson
The College Chapel Choir Alannah O'Connor
Directed by Dr John O’Keeffe among the Choral Society
Overall director Dr John O’Keeffe coordinated the four choirs:
Schola Gregoriana sang Angelus Domini apparuit Joseph, directed by Hannah Evans on left.
Schola Gregoriana is a joint project of Saint Patrick's College and The National Unversity of Ireland, Maynooth made up of students from both universities who specialise in chant performance.
The large pool of talent emanates primarily from the Music Department, where Professor Fiona Palmer has over five hundred students studying music at degree or postgraduate level. In addition, every seminarian in Saint Patrick’s College studies liturgical music.
After 120 years, the College Chapel Organ is being rebuilt, and has been replaced by an electronic instrument. The rebuilt organ will be restored in time for the Carol Service of 2013, and is described on line.
The original pipe organ had a fine richness and resonance in its magnificent home, which even the best electronic instruments cannot match - good as this one is. Good to see that Maynoooth College is maintaining its standards by reinstating the pipe organ at significant cost.
The College invites Friends of Maynooth to support the rebuild. The total budget is €750,000.00, valuing each of the 3,000 pipes at an average of €250. Each time a stop is pulled out, a rank is engaged which consists of 61 notes. Each rank will therefore cost about €15,000.00. The rebuilding of the Organ is the last major component in the restoration of the College Chapel. Details are on the following site:
In September 2011, all the pipes have been removed from the Organ-Case. Some of the ranks will be totally replaced while others have been shipped to Italy to be voiced and polished. We hope that the restored and newly commissioned pipes will be returned to their setting in the summer of 2013.