The year 2008 will be remembered for the financial crisis and its impact on economies around the world. Yet, in the midst of the gloom, a small enterprise was launched that defied the economic climate and found its niche in the world of music.
That enterprise was the Kingston Academy of Music which opened its doors in premises in Dun Laoghaire in September 2008.
Three moves of location and almost ten years later, the Academy is a thriving business that has succeeded on its own merits without the support of national or local government.
A hallmark of the Academy has been the consistency of its examination results over recent years.
For the past five years, the Academy’s students have had an average success rate of over 85 per cent in State and Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) exams. In 2016 for example, two students recorded “outstanding achievement” results of over 90 per cent in their RIAM exams.
In addition, the Academy has always achieved gold medals in any of the Feis Ceoil competitions in which its students have participated.
Plans are under way to mark the milestone anniversary with a series of activities and special events. Among the former is the publication of a book about the Academy. The events programme will include a number of concerts and recitals in prestigious heritage venues in Dublin and elsewhere.
Visit the Academy’s website at www.kingstonacademyofmusic.com for further announcements as the academic year unfolds.
Harlequins completed the celebration of its 150th anniversary season on Wednesday evening (14th June) with a ceremony at its Twickenham Stoop Stadium during which two memorial boards were unveiled honouring the players and officials associated with the club that never returned from World War I and II.
The boards were unveiled by Harlequins President, Bob Hiller in the foyer of the DHL (East) Stand at the event which was attended by representatives of all sections of the club. Prayers for the fallen were lead by Gary Scott, Padre of the Household Cavalry, and “The Last Post” and “Reveille” were played by Ian Graves, former State Trumpeter.
Among the famous players listed on the WWI board is Ronnie Poulton-Palmer, believed by many of his era to be one of the greatest three-quarters ever to play the game. In just six seasons of senior rugby, Poulton-Palmer left a lasting impression on fellow players and spectators as a personality, leader and gifted runner. He made his international debut for England against France in 1909 aged 19 and went on to receive 17 caps. He was killed by a sniper’s bullet in Belgium.
Speaking at the ceremony, Harlequins Chief Executive, David Ellis, said, “In celebrating our 150th season we’ve been very aware of the legacy that has been handed down to us. One of the notable gaps in that legacy has been the absence of a formal memorial at The Stoop to commemorate the players and club officials that went to the two Great Wars of the last century but never came back.
“Thanks to the efforts of the club’s heritage team, and individual members, a detailed list of the fallen has been compiled and we’re pleased to reproduce it on the two elegant boards that we’ve unveiled in the foyer of the DHL Stand for all to see.”
John Westerby, sports writer of The Times, was named as “Guinness-London Irish Rugby Union Journalist of the Season” at a ceremony in Diageo headquarters in London yesterday evening (22nd May).
Westerby came top in a nomination and adjudication process that involved the 12 clubs in the Aviva Premiership, Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union.
The award citation praised Westerby for his expertise as an all-round sports journalist who covers rugby with knowledge and enthusiasm and how he has always written about players and coaches responsibly and with empathy.
The award, which has been presented annually for the past 14 years, recognises the contribution of rugby union broadcasters and journalists to the development of the game in this country.
Phil Edwards, the former rugby correspondent of Sky Sports News, received a special award for outstanding service to rugby union in a media context for his professionalism in a demanding media environment in bringing news about the game from all over the rugby playing world to television audiences in this country and Europe.
“ Nunquam Dormio: 150 Years of Harlequins”, the 150th anniversary book about the Club, has been shortlisted for the “Rugby Book of the Year” award at the publishing industry’s prestigious Cross Books of the Year ceremony next month.
The lavishly illustrated, official history book, which was published in September last, covers the Club’s first 150 years. Written by leading rugby writer, Brendan Gallagher, the 256 page, hardback publication tells the story of the Club from its early itinerant existence to it putting down roots in Twickenham and developing there. The book also features profiles of the many great personalities and players that are part of the Harlequin’s story.
The full colour, hardback book includes many previously unpublished photographs and illustrations that have been uncovered in researching the club’s rich past as well as a wealth of historic memorabilia.
Copies of the two editions of the book are still available. The Standard edition comes with a wraparound dust jacket.
Less than 100 copies of the limited Collectors’ Edition are available exclusively from the Club shop. Each book comes with its own unique number printed in the front of the book and presented in an elegant slipcase displaying the official Harlequins 150th anniversary badge. Each copy of this edition has been signed by the Club President, Bob Hiller.
The books are on sale through the Club Shop and website. The standard edition is available in a special offer with a copy of the 150th Anniversary DVD documentary at £30. The remaining limited stock of the collectors’ edition is available at £50 each.
London Irish announced on 5th April 2017 that its Chief Executive Bob Casey has resigned and will leave the Club this summer to return home to Ireland.
The former Exiles’ captain had a distinguished 10 year playing career with the club between 2002 and 2012, playing a key part in London Irish’s most successful period to date in the Premiership and Europe.
On his retirement from playing in summer 2012, Casey joined Powerday plc, the recycling and environmental waste management group, as their senior business development manager. He returned to the club as Operations Director in 2014 and was appointed Chief Executive in 2015.
Frank McCartney, Chairman of London Irish said, “I’m sure all connected with London Irish will be disappointed to learn that Bob is leaving the Club to which he has made a great contribution both as a player and an executive over the past 15 years. Since re-joining the club in 2014, he has overseen the move to our centre of excellence at Hazelwood, re-invigorated our Academy and rugby programme, helped secure our potential return to a new stadium in London and laid the foundations for our possible return to the Aviva Premiership.”
Commenting on the announcement, Bob Casey said, “The time is right for me to leave the Club and return to Ireland. I have set London Irish on a course for future success. Now it is time for me to prioritise my wife and our young family and we have decided to return home and be close to family and friends. I’m pleased that I will not be losing my connection with the Club and its amazing supporters as I’ve accepted an invitation to become a Trustee of the Club’s new charitable Foundation. I would like to thank the Board, players and staff, business partners and supporters for all the support that I’ve received over the past 15 years.”