Roll over Beethoven - Les Filles mean business


The word ‘legacy’ has been used to the nth degree when it comes to the City of Culture year 2013.

Be that as it may, the young people who are taking part in the City of Culture’s ‘Exceptionally Talented Scheme’ would make anyone think twice about the whole meaning of the word.

Pianist Edel Bowen with singers Rachel Coyle and Una Morrison. (DER4413PG030)

Pianist Edel Bowen with singers Rachel Coyle and Una Morrison. (DER4413PG030)

Edel Bowen is a lower-sixth student at St. Mary’s College and has been playing the piano since she was very young.

St. Mary’s nominated Edel to represent the school on the ‘Exceptionally Talented Scheme’ and she has enjoyed it so much that she is considering studying music when she goes to university.

“It wasn’t really something I thought about but because of the fun I have had on the scheme I would definitely think about it.

“The other good thing about this scheme is that it has given the young people of this city the chance to have their voices heard during the City of Culture celebrations.

From left, Colleen McDevitt, Laura Kennedy and Daisy Hannaway. (DER4413PG033)

From left, Colleen McDevitt, Laura Kennedy and Daisy Hannaway. (DER4413PG033)

“All of the big events like Radio One’s Big Weekend and the Turner Prize have rightly grabbed the headlines but it’s nice to see local young people get their chance to shine too.”

The ‘Exceptionally Talented Scheme’ has brought together 50 young people aged between 12 and 18 from schools from right across the Derry City Council area.

The young people performed at a showcase concert in Christ Church on Friday night but there are plans for another concert before Christmas and the young people will also record a CD.

Seán Doherty is the co-ordinator for the Exceptionally Talented Programme and he said it is one of the most important events during the City of Culture year.

Seán is originally from Derry. He is a former pupil of Lumen Christi College and after studying at Cambridge he went on to complete a Phd. in Music at Trinity College in Dublin. He is 26 years-old and has written two operas.

“I wish I had something like this when I was growing up in Derry,” smiled Seán.

“The young people don’t know how lucky they are to be taking part in such a prestigious event but I also have to say that I am bowled over by the sheer level of talent in Derry - it’s something the city should be really proud of.

“I am a product of Derry and although I studied in Cambridge and Dublin it’s lovely to be able to come home and put something back into the community,” he said.

Laura Kennedy is a lower-sixth pupil from Lumen Christi College and she is a violin player.

Laura explained that taking part in an event like the ‘Exceptionally Talented Programme’ not only meant she met new people but it also made her see what it felt like to perform in a professional manner.

“Performing in Christ Church on Friday was just the best feeling ever,” she said.

“Of course it’s always nice to do something different like this and meeting new people is great but it’s amazing when you’ve written a piece of original music together and you get to perform it together on stage.

“It’s because of the City of Culture that events like the ‘Exceptionally Talented Scheme’ convince young people growing up in Derry that they too could have a future in music.”

Rachel Coyle is a lower-sixth student from Oakgrove Integrated College and is a singer.Rachel, along with Edel, Laura, Colleen McDevitt, Daisy Hannaway and Una Morrissey, make up the group ‘Les Filles’ and they performed their song ‘Forget It’ at the concert in Christ Church.

“I can’t speak highly enough of this initiative. Writing the music and the words has been so much fun. It’s been a real team effort and everyone has worked so hard to make it work.

“I hope that this sort of thing can continue on even after the City of Culture has been and gone. Providing opportunities for the young people of the city is an amazing way of making sure the future of Derry is a bright one.” she said.