St Mary’s R.C. High School in Lugwardine, Hereford, have supported CAFOD for many years. On 22 March, I was lucky enough to be invited to their annual Spring Concert which showcased the school’s artistic talent and raised funds for the Lent Appeal.
When I arrived at the school, it was already buzzing with excitement; in the background I could hear instruments being tuned and see cakes being hastily rushed from the oven. St Mary’s High School has been raising funds for CAFOD in many ways over the years; to date they have raised over £22,000. I was at the school for their annual Spring Concert but before it started, I got to speak to Mr Shannon, the Deputy headteacher:
“We have always done an Easter concert and have supported CAFOD; this year, we have been fundraising especially hard throughout Lent due to the Government’s Match Funding. In addition to the concert tonight, each year group have fundraised on a Friday during Lent.”
Year 11’s, Karla and Grace are part of the Chaplaincy team and have helped organise the fundraising:
“We have organised and held CAFOD assemblies, using CAFOD’s resources to emphasise the need for clean water. One of the tasks involved boys and girls collecting glasses of water – it was very clear that it was the girls responsibility to collect water.”
“Fundraising Friday was very successful; we had a sponge the teacher event, we collected spare change around the school, held a raffle and lots of people dressed up in funny costumes. Last week there was a curry and quiz night which raised over £100.”
When I asked them what they were most looking forward to in the concert, Grace replied: “I love the Jazz band” and Mr Shannon said: “I am looking forward to the Piano solo, I would do anything to play the piano but it is only a dream.”
Mr Fitzgerald opened the evening by introducing Vivaldi’s Spring from the Four Seasons. This was followed by confident solos on guitar, clarinet, piano and saxophone, and a vocal performer who was accompanied by a dancer.
In the interval, we were provided with yummy pork sandwiches, light refreshments and homemade cakes, which sold out very quickly. During the interval, I managed to speak quickly to Mr Thomas who was in charge of conducting the Jazz group and who had organised much of the evening alongside Mrs Edwards:
“We have been doing the Easter concert for around 5 years, it is a major fundraiser and usually raises around £500.
“We usually hold one music event per term, once Christmas is over, we start preparing for Easter. This is a time of year when there are lots of exams, the concert really came together in the final two hour rehearsal this afternoon.
“The concert had a nice atmosphere, especially during Holy Week, there is the music and then there is the frivolity of the pork sandwiches and the drinks. This is actually the first time we have been at school during Holy Week so there is going to be a special mass on Maundy Thursday.”
The second half had performances by the Clarinet Ensemble and the much anticipated Jazz Band, who played a lovely rendition of Chameleon. The big surprise of the evening was the Tintinnabulis who performed an enchanting piece on their handbells. The evening was closed with a performance of Don’t Stop Believing, which was poignant considering the fundraising for the night will help people from the poorest communities around the world.
I would like to thank St Mary’s for inviting me to their wonderful concert full of talented and passionate students and for their fundraising efforts. The money that the school raised will go towards providing clean and safe water to over 300,000 people in Uganda, Zimbabwe and the Dominican Republic of Congo. Due to the Government’s Match Funding, every pound raised will be doubled until May 9.
Donate to the Lent Appeal at cafod.org.uk/lent