Fond farewell to inspirational music teacher

Mr Moreland (centre) with his children Peter, Lauren, Matthew and Philip. INNT 19-812CON
Mr Moreland (centre) with his children Peter, Lauren, Matthew and Philip. INNT 19-812CON

The concert, which was held on Thursday, May 5, was attended by members of Mr Moreland’s family, his friends, colleagues, past pupils and current students.

Sam Moreland playing the classical guitar at his retirement concert. INNT 19-813CON

Sam Moreland playing the classical guitar at his retirement concert. INNT 19-813CON

Sam, who is set to retire this summer, took up his role as head of the music department at the Rashee Road school in 1991.

After spending eight years teaching in the secondary sector in Belfast, he was informed about the vacancy at Ballyclare High by a colleague who had children at the school.

Speaking after the concert, he said: “The sense of warmth and affection that I felt at the concert- it is beyond words. It was a celebration of music at the school, with both past and present pupils performing. It brought back so many memories of so many people. With 80 past pupils taking part, it’s wonderful to know that I’ve had some small input in their lives and that they’re continuing with music after they leave school.”

Sam is originally from the Shankill district of Belfast, where he’s still actively involved in teaching music at Malvern Primary School and at the Malvern Assembly, where he is a pastor. He will be continuing his work as a tutor and pastor during his retirement.

Sam Moreland conducting the orchestra at his retirement concert in Ballyclare High School. INNT 19-814CON

Sam Moreland conducting the orchestra at his retirement concert in Ballyclare High School. INNT 19-814CON

“Serving Jesus is central to my life. One door is now closing at Ballyclare High School, but other doors will open. I don’t know what the future holds. I will miss the interaction with the children- teaching them really was a lot of fun. It’s lovely to see the progression of pupils. If the talent is in them, it’ll find a way out. I’d like to thank all the teachers at the school who have supported me throughout my career, especially lately after the passing of my wife Eileen.”

Commenting on Mr Moreland’s retirement, Principal of Ballyclare High School, Dr Michelle Rainey said: “Sam not only has served as a steadying influence to all of us as a staff but has embraced and guided our complement of peripatetic music staff over the years to ensure provision for all our pupils was of the highest quality. He worked for CCEA and the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music to ensure he remained on top of his game for the pupils under his tutelage.

“Sam has always put the pupils first, committing a huge amount of his time, energy and talents to ensure they got the best opportunities possible. Not only did he infect and delight them with his passion for music but he nurtured them, and developed them fulsomely, whether that was as a member of the school orchestra, in the choirs, as members of the annual musical production or indeed as individuals in their chosen field. It’s testimony to Sam’s own excellence, talent and commitment, that the reputation of Ballyclare High School’s music under his leadership reaches well beyond the town itself and indeed is considered high in the esteemed ranks amongst the best in school music in the province.”