FOYLE View School Choir, in Derry, has launched a CD featuring a mix of popular Christmas hymns and songs.
Money raised from the sale of the CD will go towards funds for the special needs school, which is building an excellent reputation for its musical achievements.
As well as recording A Special Christmas, Foyle View became the first special needs school to get to the regional finals of the All Island School Choir of the Year competition last year, and its rock band, The Plantin has auditioned for Britain’s Got Talent.
Amazing many with their musical talents, Mrs Denise White, music co-ordinator and upper secondary teacher at Foyle View, explained that some of the band members were also involved in the 24-strong choir.
Family and friends associated with the school proudly turned out for the launch of the CD and were treated to rousing renditions of such Christmas favourites as O Holy Night, Hallelujah, Walking in the Air and White Christmas.
Chairperson and former director of Eglinton-based special needs group, Something Special, which promotes development through music, Mrs White told The Journal: “The children are continually learning through their music and developing so many different skills.”
Commenting on the need to change how people with special needs are perceived, she said: “The public needs to become aware that although these children have special needs, they are really talented and should be given a chance.
“As well as raising funds for the school, this CD will hopefully help to raise the profile of special needs. We are in contact with professors of music who think that what we have achieved here is so important. Music and special needs are hand in glove; it’s brilliant!”
Her vision is shared by Foyle View principal and lead guitarist in the school rock band, Michael Dobbins, who remarked: “Music is very important in all schools but even more so in special needs because music is all about communication.
“Denise is doing a brilliant job in delivering music not only right across the curriculum at Foyle View, but also at an individual level. We have seen some children grow and grow in confidence and become very polished performers. The launch of the CD is about showcasing that talent and celebrating Christmas.”
Meanwhile, The Plantin have entered for Britain’s Got Talent and a bus load of 47 band members and supporters set off for an audition in The Hilton Hotel, Belfast, in November.
Recalling the fantastic experience, Mrs White said: “We queued for about two hours, though it didn’t seem that long as we sang and danced to pass the time and really enjoyed ourselves.
“They sang Don’t Cry For Me Argentina for the audition and were asked to sing another, so they sang Don’t Stop Believing. It could be after Christmas before we find out if we made it through to live TV, but we have a good feeling about it. It was a very good audition!”
Delighted at the success of the band, which was set up just a year ago, she remarked: “They are really taking off. It is great that there are lots of opportunities coming up for them, but what we are able to do will depend on funding.”