In 2001, when I was “Teacher Of The Arts”, I was asked by my headteacher at the time, Michael Kearney, to compose a song for a celebration at our school, St. John Vianney’s Roman Catholic Primary School in Manly, Queensland. It’s 60th birthday, indeed. I did as he asked and this is the result.
The song has three verses. The first speaks of St. John Vianney himself, the second of the Presentation Sisters who set up the school in 1941, and the third of the rather delightful character of the school as it was in 2001.
I remember the day I wrote it. I arrived at school very early as usual and excitedly exhorted Michael to come to the arts room and hear me sing it. He wondered whether it was too difficult for the children to sing (I’ve heard that few times in my career, of course), but assured me that he liked it and that the lyrics fitted the brief perfectly. Buoyed by his response, I set to, introducing and teaching it to all the classes, and as I thought, they managed it well, and for the remainder of the time I worked at the school it was the school’s song and was performed with gusto by everyone on every possible occasion.
Unfortunately I have no photographic records or recordings of any of these numerous performances!
St. John Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests, and I am dedicating this recording today not only to all my old friends at SJV in Manly but also a very lovely friend of mine here, who happens to be a parish priest.
The images on the video are a mixture from me and my excellent brother, Michael, who has been to the place where Jean Vianney was the parish priest in Ars, France.
1. A shepherd boy in France Tended sheep on his father’s farm He had a dream to live: He looked from the hillside to his life as a priest: He served the God he loved throughout his life, throughout his life. 2. The Sisters taught in Longreach. They took one pace beyond the home they knew, They had a dream to live: They looked over Queensland, and established our school in their home beside the sea St Philomena’s was her name. Now… 3. It’s a happy school. It cares for us, nurtures all our gifts and hopes. We have a dream to live: We look through the window to the ocean, the world beyond: To the future of our friends. Where will we go? Who will we be? Chorus: St. John Vianney's is the name of our school Where we work and play and learn to show respect for all we know. And when the time comes, you'll be sad that you must go, but be glad of the love of all your friends at St. John Vianney's School.