Glasgow schools went en fete today when they gathered at Wellington Church in the West End for the annual multi-faith Columba Cantata.

Commonwealth Games flags and bunting were festooned around the church as the youngsters acted out a colourful pageant on the life of the missionary saint, St Columba of Iona.

Children dressed as clansmen and as monks processed into the church carrying a bible as they sang ‘God our crew’ to the tune ‘Highland Cathedral’.  There was a reading from  Adamnan’s Life of Columba, and Psalm 18 (Their voice has gone out) was sung

The story of Columba and the ‘book’ and the  battle –  the lament ‘to every cow its calf, they cried, but still the peace was never tried, and families divided met in war – and the songs, the drama and the story unfolded.  There was dancing, then  the story of Adamnan’s Law of the Innocents, intercessions for all our needs, an alms for The Lord Provost’s charity, and the final hymn was a prayer for peace sung to the tune ‘Jerusalem.’

The schools were supported musically by a band from 2nd year music students at Glasgow University Education Department, and the transport for the schools was subsidised by a grant from the Glasgow Marshall and Educational Trust. The event was sponsored by Glasgow Churches Together.

The pupils from St Monica’s, St Martha’s, Golfhill, Our Lady of the Missions, Our Lady of the Rosary, John Paul II, St Bartholomew’s, St Timothy’s, St Paul’s, St Ninian’s, St Mary’s, St Philomena’s, St Saviour’s, St Roch’s, St Conval’s, St Clare’s, Motherwell Cathedral, Bankhead, Dalmarnock and Garscadden primary schools were joined by second year music students from Glasgow University’s Education Department.

Glasgow’s RC archbishop, the Most Rev Philip Tartaglia; the Rev David Sinclair, minister of Wellington Church and Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery, and the Rev Karen Hendry of Yoker Parish Church joined in the singing as the young people played music and danced.

Monsignor Gerry Fitzpatrick, parish priest of St Leo’s, Dumbreck, and archdiocesan director of music, directed the concert pageant which ended with a rousing chorus of the Glasgow Song – “Glasgow my home and my city, Glasgow may your light ever shine, Wherever I go I think of you, in my heart you will always be mine …”

Bailie Margot Clark of King’s Park represented Lord Provost Sadie Docherty, whose Christmas Charity Fund benefited from donations from all the schools who took part.

Bailie Clark said: “This was a wonderful performance. I know a lot more now about St Columba, his journey to Scotland from Ireland and the missionary work he did here. I can’t emphasise enough what a pleasure it is to be entertained in such a lovely fashion. Music making is a great experience that can give joy and pleasure throughout your lives, so I would urge you not to make this a one-off.”

Bailie Clark thanked the young people for their “truly generous gesture” and said the money they had donated to the Lord Provost’s Fund would “really help people in Glasgow who are in need”.

Archbishop Tartaglia congratulated the young people and gave the blessing at the end of the cantata.

The Columba Cantata was staged by Glasgow Churches Together, whose ecumenical officer Elspeth Glasgow gave special thanks to Moira Summers and the university music students, Marie Warrington, the music development officer for Glasgow’s primary schools, Carissa Bovil for recordings, and David Buchan of the Flag Co., for his generous donation of the Commonwealth Games bunting.