now and then, Winter 1997/98 Vol. 1 – No. 3.
Page 4 - 6
Sr. Anna Hyland
Carlow Person of The Year Award, 1997
by Walter Lacey, Chairman Carlow UDC.
It may seem a cliché by now but I can honestly say that this
function is one of the highlights, if not the highlight, of
my year as Chairman. Since the introduction of this award by
the late Paddy Carpenter there have been many deserving
recipients. It is not an easy task to choose a recipient as
there are so many people out there that do great voluntary
work for Carlow and its people. The recipient is thoroughly
deserving of this award.
Walter Lacey presenting Sr. Anna with the
Carlow Person of the Year trophy, pictured here with her
sisters Geraldine Kelleher and Noreen Whelan.
The gift of music is a wonderful gift to have; it is even
more wonderful to share this gift with others. The recipient
has shared her gift of music with thousands of Carlow girls
for thirty years now. It was of course Sr. Anna of Scoil
Mhuire and Presentation School Band.
Sr. Anna's family travelled to celebrate her big
achievement. Her sister Noreen and Tommy with their family
Therese, Ann Marie, Martina and Thomasina from Borris in
Ossory. Her sister Geraldine and Michael with their family
Cathal, Noel and Philip from Cork.
Sr. Anna, a Laois woman by birth, came to Carlow in 1963 to
teach in Scoil Mhuire Gan Smal. Even at that time there was
always music to be heard in Scoil Mhuire and in 1968 Sr.
Anna, then known as Sr. Savio, took charge of all and
founded the Presentation School Band. The following quotes
are attributed to Sr. Anna in relation to the formation of
"Like all bands, ours was founded to develop the musical
talents of the pupils of Scoil Mhuire, and to bring a
further ray of brightness into the life of our town and its
"The result for the band members is a development of their
appreciation of, and love for music, and the discovery of
talents which otherwise might have remained dormant."
There was only one way and that way was forward
With a foundation like that there was only one way and that
was forward. Over the following 30 years the school band has
proudly represented Carlow at many events, every year for
Saint Patrick's Day, Community Games, Town Twinning,
Football Finals, Eigse, Slogadh, Glor Na Gael, Fleadh,
Entente Florale and many more. The band actually played for
the first Chairman's award. In fact very few ceremonial
occasions have taken place with-out the distinctive sound of
the Presentation Band.
Band Presented with Award for Excellence
Some other memorable performances were when the band played
for the 175th anniversary of 1798 when in 1973 a wreath was
laid at the Croppie Graves in Graiguecullen. Sr. Anna was
always willing for the band to play for visiting dignitaries
which included the Ambassadors of France, England and Italy,
and also for visiting Government Ministers. In 1983 the band
was featured on televisions Ireland's Eye programme, with
Carolyn Fisher, and as far back as 1970 they were engaged to
play for Dana when she visited Carlow, following her
Eurovision win, but unfortunately poor weather and some
chaos put paid to that but Dana on hearing of their plight
called to see Sr. Anna in the convent.
Some more memorable performances were when the band played
for President Mary Robinson when she visited Carlow on more
than one occasion. In fact in 1994 the President presented
the marching band with the Gradam award which is presented
for excellence. Back in 1981 three members of the band
played in Rome for Pope John Paul, another proud moment for
Sr. Anna. In more recent times 2 members in 1995 and six
members in 1996 represented Carlow in the Birmingham
International Tattoo Festival, as part of the massed
accordion band of Ireland, held in the indoor arena better
known to us as the venue for the Gladiators.
The girls of the band have enjoyed a great friendship also
with the elderly of St Fiacc's House and the Day Care
Centre, with the patients of St. Dympna's Hospital and the
Sacred Heart Hospital and of course have a very special
relationship with the Wheelchair Association in Carlow.
The bands achievements are far too much to mention. Their
many awards including many All Ireland awards are proudly
displayed in a specially made cabinet in Scoil Mhuire. The
band have travelled around the entire country to compete in
the various events. All of this could not have happened
without the vision and commitment of Sr. Anna. I know that
all the past pupils have great memories and extend great
admiration and gratitude to Sr. Anna for the wonderful gift
she has given them.
The following are just a few quotes from these same girls as
printed in the 21st. Anniversary celebration book.
"Someone once wrote, if one is interested in music, rather
than becoming bored, the likelihood is that you have an
embarrassment of riches. I joined the Scoil Mhuire Band and
have enjoyed a great wealth of friendship in this band of
- "My most cherished memories must be of the many friends I
made, through the band."
- "The reward of being able to play was worth all the hard
work and enthusiasm needed."
- "Take pride in today's accomplishments for they lead to
- "The experience which we got from our years in the band is
- "Words cannot express my gratitude to Sr. Anna for her
friendship, kindness and the glorious gift of music which
she has given to all Scoil Mhuire Band members and the
people of Carlow."
Many of these same girls have successfully pursued a career
in music, something which they may never have done but for
the formation of the Presentation Band almost 30 years ago.
I know that along the way Sr. Anna has received the help of
many people, including parents.
Format of Presentation of Award
Sr. Anna, you have enriched the band members and their
families and the people of Carlow with a lifelong gift of
music playing, listening and enjoyment and a sense of pride
of achievements for almost 30 years. You have invested 30
years of hard work and dedication to the benefit of
thousands of Carlovians. The gift and scroll in recognition
of Sr. Anna's achievements and also the honour of been
nominated Carlow Person of the Year for 1997 was presented
The first official picture of the
Band, taken in 1969.
Included are: (Front) Breda Dowling, Loretto Moran,
Eileen O'Reilly, June McKenna, Majella Fitzpatrick,
Hannah Donovan, Mary Hennessy, Margaret Brennan.
(seated) Josephine Byrne, Mary O'Neill,
(Second row) Maria O'Leary, Lisa Keating, Claire O'Shea,
Mary Lyons, Catherine Hendrick, Ina Kirwan, Celine
Maguire, Noelette Lawler, Dolores Moran, Mary Doran,
Sheila Maher, Mary Holohan, Margaret Murray, Noeleen
(Back row) Anne Marie Byrne, Eileen Doran, Katherine
Moran, Maura Kinsella, Carol McKinley, Angela Stenson,
Breda Kinsella, Mary Nolan, Bernadette McDermott and
The 1973 Presentation School Band:-
Left to Right (1st Row) Bernadette Rossiter, Marissa
Fitzpatrick, Angela O'Leary, Anne Whelan, Claire
Keating, Margaret Maher, Carmel Kirwan, Mary Amond, Mary
(2nd Row) Patricia Dooley, Anne Marie Lawler,
Siobhan Fitzpatrick, Mary Clare Dempsey, Deirdre
Dempsey, Bernle McGrath.
(3rd Row) Patricia Corcoran, Claire Fitzpatrick, Lily
Murphy, Michelle Dempsey, Elizabeth Dwyer, Anne Kirwan,
Mary Delaney, Mary Olwill.
(Back row) Maria Doyle, Mary Kananagh, Colette Hendrick,
Geraldine Maher, Nora Holahan, Mary Claire Whelan,
The 1983 Presentation School Band:
Left to right (Back Row) Anne Hayes, Therese Boyle,
Patricia Gurhy, Martina Murphy, Karen Hosey, Claudette
Murphy, Aileen Hughes, Worsen Doyle, Ruth Gurhy, Martina
Whelan. (3rd Row) Maura Quinn, Karen Farrell, Fiona
Gavin, Bridget Sheehan, Margaret Kehoe, Mary Purcell,
Audrey Halpin, Jeanette Hogan, Fiona Doogue, Natalie
Murphy, Lorna Smith.
(2nd Row) Valerie Nolan, Ashling Long, Jacqueline
Oglesby, Ashling Darcy, Martina Lawler, Ruth Hynes, Mary
Mulligan, Michelle Barry, Julie Doyle, Mary Neville,
Sharon Eyres, Mary Doyle, Teresa Kehoe.
(Front Row) Irene Kelly, Majella Keating, Anne Marie
McDonald, Mary Sheehan, Catriona Murphy, Jacqueline
Sheehan, Mabel Nolan, Nuala Foley.
Senior and Junior Primary Band, 1993
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