Music school honours inspirational founder

By Maria Pepper

Published 10/09/2016 | 00:00

David Greevey, principal, Wexford School of Music; Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation; Eileen Herlihy, joint founder, Wexford School of Music; and Joanne Powell, chairperson, Wexford School of Music.
David Greevey, principal, Wexford School of Music; Rosaleen Molloy, National Director of Music Generation; Eileen Herlihy, joint founder, Wexford School of Music; and Joanne Powell, chairperson, Wexford School of Music.

The County Wexford School of Music has honoured one of its original co-founders, the late Alan Cutts by dedicating a room in his name and launching a perpetual trophy in his memory.

London musician Alan came to Wexford in 1979 to work with Wexford Festival Opera and the following year he established the Summerhill school with Eileen Herlihy to develop music education in the county.

The school offers high standard vocal and instrumental tuition and 36 years on it continues to thrive. Many past pupils have pursued very successful music careers.

Alan who died suddenly last February, dedicated over 20 years to the school, to thousands of students and to the musical life of County Wexford.

'Alan was an extremely dedicated teacher who was committed to music education and to his students,' said Joanne Power, chairperson of the school board at the honouring ceremony last Friday night.

She said the dedication of the Alan Cutts Room in St. Mary's and the launch of the Alan Cutts Perpetual Trophy are a fitting tribute to the school's pioneering co-founder and 'an appropriate way for us to remember him, honour his memory and celebrate his legacy.'

David Creevy who became principal in 2013, said Alan was a highly influential musician and teacher who set high standards which the school continues to uphold.

During his years in the school, Alan presided over prolific achievements including award-winning performances in national competitions, sell-out performances during Wexford Festival Opera, world premieres of original compositions, recordings, music exchanges and the development of the curriculum.

Many of the school's distinguished alumni now pursue successful careers in music performance and education including Rosaleen Molloy, Fintan Cleary, Aileen Mythen, Aine Whelan, Deirdre Masterson, Roisín Dempsey, Therese Canavan, Helen McGrath, Brigid Nolan and many more.

Guest speaker Rosaleen Molloy described her self as 'an immensely proud past pupil' and said it was her privilege to honour Alan Cutts, 'an inspirational musician, educator and musical genius who transformed lives through his powerful teaching.'

'I was fortunate to have Alan as my teacher and mentor for over 15 years. He passed on his live of music to me...and without a doubt he was one of the greatest teachers I ever had,' she said.

The Alan Cutts Perpetual Trophy, kindly donated by Eileen Herlihy will be awarded annually to the CWSM student who achieves the highest mark in graded exams. This year, singer Deirdre Stacey overcame close competition to win, making her teacher Aileen Donohoe very proud.

County Wexford School of Music is now enrolling for the 2016/2017 academic year.The school's youth orchestra, also founded in 1980, are thriving under the baton of Emily Redmond. They performed and represented Ireland in a 10-day workshop in Italy this summer and recently had the opportunity to play in a workshop with the US Attacca string quartet presented by Music for Wexford.

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