Invaluable Music Treasures from the Past

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir – Total Immersion and Focus

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir, from Ljubljana, Slovenia ranks among the best girl choirs in the world. It is one of the five school choirs at The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution. The choir comprises of 40 girls between the ages of 15 and 18, but there is much turnover among singers; each year about a third of the girls leave at graduation, while new singers join.

Last year the choir prepared an outstanding musical event intertwining songs and dances with the music of an exceptional woman from the High Middle Ages, Saint Hildegard of Bingen. It bears the title Caritas abundant in omnia/ Love Aboundeth in All Things. The musical performance is enriched by a new musical setting by a Slovene composer Damijan Močnik, which combines seamlessly past and present.

Hildegard’s music, which represents the spiritual expression of The High Middle Ages, is extremely demanding to recreate. For this very reason, it is so valuable that this project has been launched by such young girls. With all their hearts’ creativity they dedicated themselves to the studies of almost one thousand-year-old musical notation and spiritually rich texts, which are so different from anything they encounter today. With courage and determination, they have left behind the world they know, the fast world, often of superficial nature, and entered into the profound message of love, wisdom and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The choir’s interpretation of this Medieval mystic, composer and polymath are full of girls’ tenderness and so convincing that overwhelm even the most demanding listener.

Music and choir activities at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium along with the above-mentioned concert reflect the school’s mission statement in its main points. St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir with 40 teenage girls, who each definitely seek for their own identity and role, who undoubtedly cannot succeed without each other, without the complementing community, as only together they can sound harmoniously. With their teacher Saint Hildegard, the girls could not but include the Christian values – from their personal faith to music making in a singing community, which both inevitably result in personal growth and excellency in anything the young singers do. The result is inspiring and it fully realises the school’s motto Amor magister optimus/Love is the Best Teacher. This is the most precious piece of advice a teacher can give to a student. You are kindly invited to listen to how love sounds!

/Helena Fojkar Zupančič, Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Best in English Language Competition

On November 30 2022, students of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium took part in the international online English language competition Best in English. There were 22,779 participants from all over the world, 1007 from Slovenia. The students from our school performed very well; the maximum number of points was 118 and the following students came close to 100: Jerneja Podgorelec, 4. A  scored 102.5 points, Klara Lešnik, 3. B 100.5 and Tadej Skubic, 4. A got  100 points. Congratulations to all the competitors! /Manca Golob/

 

St. Stanislav’s Day 2022 – Let Us Do Good To All People (Gal 6,10)

Each year the entire school community celebrates St. Stanislav’s Day to mark the feast of the Institution’s patron.

We have the pleasure of inviting you to this year’s celebration which will be marked with holy mass and a formal celebration on Tuesday 15th November 2022. Holy mass will be celebrated at 3 p.m. in the parish church of St. Vitus in Ljubljana Šentvid by the Archbishop of Ljubljana Msgr. Stanislav Zore. The formal celebration will take place at 5 p. m. in the sports hall of the Alojzij Šuštar Primary School. Prof Ddr Klemen Jaklič, a Judge of the Slovene Constitutional Court and a full professor of constitutional law, will hold the official speech. The performance will be given by the students of all schools in St. Stanislav’s Institution.

We look forward to celebrating with you.

Anton Česen, M. A., Director of St. Stanislav’s Institution

Outstanding success of St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir at the 53rd International Choral Contest in Spain

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir Proudly Representing Slovenia

The contest took place in Tolosa from 28th October­–1st November 2022 and brought together the best choirs in the world manily to enjoy choral music. St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir under the conductorship of Helena Fojkar Zupančič went into competition with eleven excellent adult choirs from Europe, USA and Mexico and won second place in both categories, polyphony and folklore. This is by all means an unprecedented success, considering St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir is a high school choir.

This is how the headmaster of The Diocesan classical Gymnasium Rihard Režek, M. Sc. reflected upon this extraordinary achievement: »First I wish to congratulate to you, dear Helena for your energy, heartiness and professionalism which you share with St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir and St. Stanislav’s Institution. Immediately after this I pay tribute to the girls – to all together as well as to each and every one of you. Nourish the beauty and the good in yourselves, keep up the good work, but never forget to enjoy it. This will allow you to continue to delight and embrace with your voices all those who walk by your side. « He also thanked gratefully to Marjetka Kozmus for her full and professional backing as well as Tina Tandler for her wholehearted support in this project.

The girls’ perspective of the D-day, Sunday, 30th October 2022 runs as follows: “Sunday was the most important day. The morning mental preparation is as important as the voice preparation, since any contest is among other a test of being able to keep inner peace and concentration. Having tested the acoustics of the hall, we got ready for the evening by putting on the concert dresses and applying some make up. As the third choir to sing in the contest we stepped on the stage in an energetic manner and already with the first accord we sounded jovially and determined. Our singing was fantastic and the public applauded loudly and cheered enthusiastically.”

One of the impressions of the winning singers speaks for itself: “I have to say that it has not been easy for the last few weeks in school, as the exam season started. But it was worth scarifying some hours of sleep and better grades, as the contest has been unforgettable. I feel grateful for all sea views, rehearsals and in particular for the fellow singers. However, I am most thankful for the moments, when we assumed we would not make it, but providing mutual support enabled just about anything we could wish for.” / Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Some clips from the contest can be seen at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GTYc7Zoy6Mc

Erasmus+ Project in St. Stanislav’s Institution: Small Steps to Sustainable Solutions

Making Friends is the Paramount Goal of any Erasmus Event

The Erasmus+ project Futur€nvironment held its second project meeting for students and teachers (LTTA- Learning Teaching Training Activity) from 17 to 21 October, 2022 in St. Stanislav’s Institution. It hosted 39 students from five partner schools from Belgium, France, Germany, North Macedonia and Scotland along with 15 teachers. Most of the guest students stayed with Slovene families, but a few also stayed in The Jeglič’s Student Home. The aim of the meeting was to exchange good practices in environmental protection and conservation in the field of energy and waste management, focusing on the small steps that each individual can contribute by following the 5 R’s: refuse, reduce, reuse, reuse, rot, recycle.

Monday, October 17

The arrival of guests marked this day. Two groups arrived in the morning and spent the time enjoying the sunshine. All but the Scottish group met their hosts in the afternoon. After the first excitement, the talks flowed and the hosts took their guests to their homes. Late in the evening we were joined by the Scots.

Tuesday, October 18

We started the morning by working in groups, playing a board game and talking about taking care of the environment. The guests were given a tour around the primary and secondary school and had lunch in the school canteen. In the afternoon we went to Ljubljana where we had a city tour to see the sights and green spots of the city. In the evening our guests went to Kurešček, where they stargazed and learnt about light pollution.

Wednesday, October 19

We started the day having four different workshops where our guests did origami bees and beehives, sewed some bags, made natural dyes and learnt something new about light pollution. Having eaten lunch, we went to Ljubljana where our guests visited the House of Experiments and had a selfie tour around the city.

Thursday, October 20

On the final day of the exchange we went on a trip to the South Western part of Slovenia. We visited the Škocjan Caves regional park, went for a walk around the collapse dolines and saw the majestic caves themselves. We had lunch in a local inn Muha, followed by the closing ceremony and some traditional dances. On this  exchange we made some friends for life. /Ema Kobav, year 4/

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir to participate at the choral contest in Tolosa, Spain

St. Stanislav Girls’ Chior -the pure joy of singing

We are proud to announce that 40 girls, students of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium in St. Stanislav’s Institution under the conductorship of Helena Fojkar Zupančič, are taking part in the International Choral Contest of Tolosa. The choral contest will take part from 28th October to 1st November 2022 and brings together the best choirs in the world, in order to exchange their knowledge of styles, interpretation, vocal know-how and customs of each participating country. The contest has been held annually since 1969 and the event has developed into one of the most prominent choral happening in the world.

St. Stanislav Girls’ Choir will have a rather extensive and versatile repertoire. On the tour they are accompanied by conductor Marjetka Kozmus and Tina Tandler, the indispensable organizer. We wish the girls the best of luck. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/

FUTUR€NVIRONMENT meeting at Institut Saint Dominique in Mortefotaine, France

The French Hospitality Was Much Appreciated

The meeting of partner schools participating in Erasmus+ KA2 project Futur€nvironment took place from 25th – 29th September 2022 in Mortefontaine, France. The hosting school was Institut Saint Dominique, with the following schools enjoying the hospitality of the French: Mallinckrodt-Gymnasium from Dortmund, Germany, which is the school coordinator of this project; Sint-Jozefscollege from Torhout, Belgium; SUGS Georgi Dimitrov from Skopje (Northern Macedonia), Wellington School, Ayr (Scotland) in St. Stanislav’s Institution with eight students and two teacher representatives, namely Alenka Battelino, Teacher of English and project coordinator, and Martin Čokl, teacher of physics.

This is how the Slovene students report on the event:

Monday, 26th October 2022

The morning after our first night abroad, we awoke in the pleasant safety of the homes of our hospitable French families. Then we ate an authentic French breakfast, which woke us up and gave us strength to start a new day. When we gathered in the dining room of the Institute of St. Dominic, we enthusiastically told each other about the first evening experiences. The program began with a speech by the headmaster of the Institute, while he greeted us in French, we were able to follow his words with a help of a translator. A pleasant coffee break and snacks followed, after which we started with the workshops. The activities were environmentaly themed. After those, the mayor of Mortefonataine addressed and welcomed us into the village community. This was followed by a delicious snack. After finishing we parted again and spent a pleasant evening with our friendly host families. /Rok Lekse, Filip Jeseničnik/

Tuesday, 27th October 2022

The day began at Institut St. Dominic where the bus took us to a very special self-sufficient farm. There, we saw many different animals – pigs, a cow, chickens, ducks, sheep, goats, and two donkeys … Firstly they told us about the history of the farm, how they grow their vegetables, and take care of the animals. They also offered us their homemade fully natural apple juice and different fruit jams. Then the tour of their orchard and vegetable gardens followed. It was very interesting to learn that their farming techniques and products were completely natural – meaning they don’t use pesticides or chemical sprays. After the tour of the farm, we had some lunch and then went to the famous Paris.

Paris welcomed us with traffic jams, beautiful architecture, people from all around the world, and a very complicated language for us. From the bus, we could see Montmartre, The Eiffel Tower, L’Arc de Triomphe, L’Obélisque de Louxor, Place de la Concorde, La Défense, and Notre Dame de Paris. We also rode down the beautiful Champs Elysées, where we could slightly feel the city’s atmosphere. Then followed the guided tour of the Orsay museum where we admired the world-famous paintings and sculptures. After the museum, we strolled down the Parisian streets, took many photographs, and even crossed the Saine. This diverse day finished with some more traffic jam and a beautiful evening with our hosting families. /Lucija Kremžar, Klara Lesnik/

Wednesday, 28th October

On Wednesday morning at half past eight, we gathered in the school dining room. We walked to the school hall, where Mr. Claude Lambre had a presentation about food additives contained in European foods and their dangers. After that there was a short coffee break and some snacks. We continued with workshops and attended the one called Life is still beautiful, where we met the art teacher Kathleen Ryan, who stuck precious stones over the moldy parts of the fruit. We glued glitter depicting mold onto preprepared styrofoam shapes. After the workshops, there was lunch, during which we chatted with students from other countries and had a little break. Before the start of the second part of the workshops, we took pictures with students from Belgium, Scotland, Macedonia and Germany. In the second part of the workshops, we baked a cake – Charlotte. Charlotte is a type of cake that can be served both cold or hot. Ours was made from apples. It was special because we actually used the whole apple, since we made syrup from the peels. After finishing the second part of the workshops, we took photos again, this time our hosts, the French pupils, joined us. Then, we all planted an olive tree together, to which everyone contributed a shovelful of soil. This was followed by a ceremonial presentation of awards for participation in the project. Then the celebratory dinner with a dance took place in the dining hall. At dinner, we were most impressed with the desserts. Among others, we were also served the cake we made at workshops. After dinner, we moved the tables and chairs aside and continued our evening of dancing. At about ten o’clock, after a beautiful and full day, we headed for the homes of our hosts. /Veronika Marc, Jerca Brolih, Lily Schweiger Kotar/

 

 

Natalie Kauter, German Ambassador to Slovenia, visits St. Stanislav’s Institution

At the Panel Discussion in the School Library

Mrs Kauter paid visit to St. Stanislav’s Institution and The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium on Wednesday, 12th October 2022. During her two-hour visit she was greeted by the director of the Institution Anton Česen, the Headmaster of The DCG Rihard Režek, two German teachers Irena Bolta and Peter Prašnikar and the Headmaster of Matija Tomc Music School Daniel Eyer.

Since this was Mrs Kauter’s first visit to St. Stanislav’s Institution, the director walked her through its history and organization. Teachers of German spoke of the position of German language learning in Slovenia and the fact that more than half of DCG students take German, which is perfectly sensible, considering Slovenia’s geographic position and intensive economic collaboration between both countries. Mrs Kauter was impressed by the programme specifics of the DCG, especially the pastoral care and charity activities students take part in.

The most exciting part of the visit was definitely the meeting with about 30 students in the school library. The event was moderated and prepared by students and the subject of their interest were various topics from the duties of an ambassador to comparing life in Germany and Slovenia. They learned that the position of the ambassador to Slovenia is shared between Mrs Kauther and her husband Mrs Pollmann. They alternate the position, which is a rather unique incident in the history of German diplomacy. The ambassador admired the high command of foreign languages in Slovenia and is grateful to the Slovenes for their friendly disposition towards the Germans, which is not self- understood, regarding the history related to the atrocities of WWII.

Above the ambassador expressed her enthusiasm about the school, its programme and neatness with the following words: “What a school! My heartfelt thanks to all those who made the visit possible. I appreciate you showing me this particular and special world, full of warmth, knowledge and good energy. Upon the visit I had only one wish: be a kid again, who is very lucky to be able to attend this school again!”  The visit of German ambassador to Slovenia was organized by Irena Bolta, a teacher of German at the Diocesan Classical Gymnasium. /Irena Bolta/

Student Erasmus mobility in Wellington School, Ayr in Scotland

Happy Participants – the Slovene gorup with Scottish Teachers

We are happy to report that a project meeting of Small Countries Strong Cultures took place in Scotland from 21st-25th August 2022. It was a happy and fruitful reunion of about 40 Scottish (Wellington School, Ayr), Belgian (Sint-Jozefsinstituut College, Torhout) and Slovene (St. Stanislav’s Institution) students after a two-year break due to Covid restrictions. Nothing compares to in-person interaction – be it learning, creating, dancing or visiting actual places. This is how one of the Slovene participants experienced the exchange:

“This Erasmus exchange was one of my best experiences ever. Not only did I learn something new about the Scottish culture and its people’s lifestyles, but I also gained precious knowledge of travelling on my own and socializing. It was only my second time going on an exchange so I still had some fears to overcome. But we had a lot of organized activities and it was a shorter exchange, so this made it easier. Almost all of our activities were done in groups with members from all three participating countries, so we got to know each other a little bit and make some new friendships. It was really easy to communicate with some, while others took more effort and because we only had 3 whole days I didn’t get the chance to meet everyone. Nonetheless, I made a few new friends and tested my social skills as I tried to talk to as many people as possible. Each day was interesting but I remember the most Tuesday when we visited the Sky academy and the city of Edinburg. At the academy we filmed our very own news report which was really exciting. I had the role of a producer in my team so I had to make sure everything went smoothly and had to shout out the words ACTION and CUT during filming. I forgot to say cut almost every time so members of my team were not particularly happy with my job. But it worked out fine and watching the whole report together was really fun. Later we went to Edinburgh and visited the Scottish Parliament, which I liked very much. There was a lot of trash on the streets but we knew that it was because of the bin strike. Otherwise it was really nice and I enjoyed all the historical buildings. One of my absolute favourite activities were also the Scottish dances, ceilidh . They were energetic and really relaxing once you’ve learned them. This was a perfect end to the exchange. I think everybody really enjoyed this short stay in Scotland. From its rich culture to funny-sounding but difficult-to-play bag pipes to its friendly people and beautiful countryside. I hope I will be able to visit it again.” /Rubin Bervar, Lily Schweiger Kotar/

Leadership Change in The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium

Rihard Režek

At the beginning of August 2022, a change in leadership took place in the community of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium. Simon Feštanj, B.A., ceased the employment of The Head Master of The Diocesan Classical Gymnasium and the position was trusted to Rihard Režek, M.Sc.

After nine years of being the Head, Mr Feštanj sees his job as “very satisfying”, feeling grateful for all the opportunities of cooperation and challenges that were brought about. He welcomed the new Head by saying: “I believe he will perform his duties with a lot of vigour, all by fulfilling the Institution’s mission.” Mr. Feštanj will remain a teacher and collaborator in St. Stanislav’s Institution.

Mr Režek is an economist by profession. At the University of Maribor, Faculty of Economics and Business he earned his master’s degree. He taught at High School of Administration in Ljubljana for 15 years, during which he assumed various leading and teaching related tasks. In 2018 he was appointed the Head Master of Jeglič Student Home and a year later the Head of The Janez F. Gnidovec Residence Hall. He is a husband and a father of two daughters, who loves family life, reading and dancing.

He believes that for the student of The DCG the most fundamental element in the process of education is being a part of the school community. The three pillars of the DCG are the classical, spiritual and creative aspect of teachers’ and students’ common endeavours. They ensure quality and well-rounded education in which everybody feels valued. Tradition still shapes some of the guiding principles here, but we seek to be looking to the future. A happy and responsible young person who is ready to make a positive contribution to the world is at the heart of school’s interest.

We wish Mr Režek all the best on his new mission and trust God’s peace with watch over him and his work. /Lily Schweiger Kotar/