St Mary’s Band Lead The Way

St Mary's High School Band at St Patrick's Day Parade in Ennis

Saint Mary’s Catholic High School Band from Phoenix, Arizona were highly acclaimed and applauded at the various venues in which they performed during their visit to Ennis for the Phoenix Week Gathering festival and the St. Patrick’s Day Parade this year.  Their visit formed part of the celebrations to mark the 25th anniversary of the twinning between the town of Ennis and the US city of Phoenix.

According to T J Waters, Chairperson of the Ennis Phoenix Twinning Board, “We were delighted that St. Mary’s High School Band travelled to Ennis to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. It was an honour to welcome the high school students and their Musical Director, Carol Mellis, to Ennis. The twinning relationship between Ennis and Phoenix has been very beneficial in terms of enterprise, culture, education and community over the past 25 years,” he said

The Band was made up of thirty five students in 9th to 12th grade from St Mary’s High School and six alumni students who are past pupils from St. Mary’s  - they expressed a wish to travel with the band and to play in Ennis. While here the band performed at a Civic Reception – which was hosted Ennis Town Council in recognition of 25 years of Twinning, at the Cliffs of Moher for the Baby Nicholas 5 Miler Run and at Mass in Ennis Cathedral.  They also visited Barefield and Cloughleigh National Schools and Colaiste Mhuire Secondary School where they performed with each school’s musicians, singers and dancers.

Since the formation of the twinning relationship between Ennis and Phoenix in 1988, civic and community leaders from both sides of the Atlantic have visited each other and developed strong ties and personal friendships. Over the years political and business leaders, arts and cultural representatives, technical experts, teachers and students have participated in regular exchanges. The focus has been on commercial, cultural and civic activities. Opportunities for trade and education links have been promoted and developed and tourism and enterprise potential has been highlighted.

St Mary’s High School Band follows in the footsteps of other Phoenix groups such as the internationally acclaimed Phoenix Boys Choir and The Phoenix Children Chorus who have performed in Ennis in recent years. Back home the band marches every year in the Phoenix St. Patrick’s Day Parade. They were named as the “Best School/Parish” entry in 2012 and received a Superior with Distinction rating at the 2012 Concert Festival.

According to Cllr. Peter Considine, Mayor of Ennis, “It is very important that we celebrate the strong connection between Ennis and Phoenix. This is a real and enduring association that deserves support and encouragement. Congratulations to all of those who have been involved over the past twenty five years. The decision by St. Mary’s High School Band to play in Ennis is yet another illustration of the value of this twinning relationship.”