Derry’s school of rock

Tutor Glenn Rosborough (back centre), putting some of the young musicians through their chords during the 'Music Promise in the Community' event at the Nerve Centre on Tuesday morning. DER2913JM012
Tutor Glenn Rosborough (back centre), putting some of the young musicians through their chords during the 'Music Promise in the Community' event at the Nerve Centre on Tuesday morning. DER2913JM012
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Young people from all over Derry took the stage at Glasgowbury music festival on Friday evening.

The young people are part of the SYNC (Stimulating Youth, Nurturing Creativity) project which comes under the umbrella of the City of Culture ‘Music Promise’ programme.

For many of the young people, singing and playing musical instruments was something they had never experienced before becoming involved with SYNC Project.

The term ‘lasting legacy’ has been batted around like the proverbial tennis ball during Derry’s year as City of Culture but Music Programme Manager at the Nerve Centre, Marty McGill, believes the SYNC Project will inspire young people all over the city and help them to develop their ideas of creativity.

“The talent on show has been absolutely amazing. The project started way back in March when we visited the young people in their respective communities.

“They all worked towards performing on the stage in Waterloo Place during ‘Music City’ - that was a memorable day.

“Then after that, it was decided that they would all perform on stage at Glasgowbury and now they have done that too - if that doesn’t leave a lasting legacy in this city then I don’t know what will,” said Marty smiling.

Eight separate rock bands have been born out of the SYNC Project and each band performed three songs each at Glasgowbury. All of the bands marked their appearance at Glasgowbury with a grand finale performance of Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’.

“The rehearsals have been really intense. The kids have been in the Nerve Centre six days a week for the last few weeks - from the morning to the evening they have been getting ready.

“The dedication and the commitment of the young people has been second to none and it’s been an absolute joy working with all of them.”

Sixteen year-old Lauren Kelly is from Lincoln Court in the Waterside and since getting involved with the SYNC Project she has gone on to discover that she has a talent for playing the drums.

Lauren and her band played three songs at Glasgowbury; a song they’d wrote themselves, ACDC’s ‘Highway to Hell’ and ‘Wild Thing’ by The Troggs.

“It’s been amazing fun - I have learnt so much and made plenty of new friends,” said Lauren.

Lauren first became aware of SYNC Project when Marty visited her youth club in Drumahoe.

“I have no real experience with music so when Marty came to the club I decided to give it a go - I haven’t looked back since.

“Performing on stage in Waterloo Place was amazing - I had never done anything like that before.

“I have enjoyed playing the drums so much that I managed to convince my parents to buy me a drum kit - it’s an electric one which means I can play away and not bother anyone because all I do is plug my earphones in,” smiled Lauren.

Lauren said taking part in the SYNC Project has helped to boost her confidence and explained that none of what the young people have achieved could have been possible had it not been for the help and support of their mentors.

“I’ve definitely noticed a change in myself since taking part in the project. It’s helped me to believe in myself more and not to be afraid when performing in front of audience.

“People like Marty McGill and Philip Wallace have been great - they have really helped us along the way. Philip’s nickname is Wally and he’s sometimes late for practice so we decided to call our band ‘Where’s Wally?’ after him,” she laughed.

Órán McLaughlin is 11 years-old and from the ‘Top of the Hill’ in the Waterside. Órán, who will start at Lumen Christi College in September, is a former pupil of Sacred Heart Primary School.

Órán’s group also performed three songs at Glasgowbury on Friday evening; their own song, ‘(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)’ by The Beastie Boys and ‘Twist and Shout’, a song made famous by The Beatles.

“I sang in the choir at Sacred Heart PS but performing classic rock songs on stage in front of a whole stack of people is just amazing - it’s such a good feeling.

“We put so much time and effort into making sure Elbow’s ‘One Day Like This’ sounded good too - I just hope the people at Glasgowbury liked it.

“I first heard of the SYNC Project when Marty McGill came to speak to us in Clooney Hall.

“I’ve met young people from all over the city - we all keep in touch via Facebook.

I definitely think it’s a project that will impact upon all of the young people taking part

I am the lead singer in our group - I really enjoy singing - it’s so much fun and when people clap after listening to the band it makes me feel great.”

The stage at Glasgowbury is not the end of the road for the SYNC Project.

Over the coming weeks other young people from all over the city will attend the workshops at the Nerve Centre where they will prepare to perform during the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Derry next month.