OVER the next two weeks Cookstown’s musical talent is due to get a well-deserved boost with prestigious performances in both Belfast and Londonderry.
First, Cookstown Youth Choir has been invited to sing at the Host Appreciation Dinner for the World Police and Fire Games.
The event takes place at Belfast City Hall on Thursday 8th August and it is a great honour for the choir, as well as its conductor and voice coach Meta Bell MBE and accompanist Norma Black.
This is another fine achievement for Cookstown Youth Choir since its formation in 2008. The choir receives the on-going support from the Arts and Cultural Development programme of Cookstown District Council in its endeavours and public performances locally are always something of which the Council is extremely proud.
But things don’t stop there. The choir have also produced a CD, been featured on BBC Radio Ulster and performed alongside the Celtic Tenors in June 2011 and the Three Tenors in February 2012. Later in 2102 the choir went on to win the youth section of the Bangor International Choral Festival and took part in a large choral event in the Titanic quarter in Belfast, as part of the London 2012 Festival Cultural Olympiad.
In preparation for this event the choir worked extensively with highly acclaimed composer Brian Irvine, who was so impressed that he composed a piece especially for the choir, which they performed on their own.
So the choir is going from strength to strength and the invitation for them to performance at Belfast City Hall next week is just another example of how highly regarded they are well beyond our district.
Then just a week later another Council sponsored project is being represented at the Fleadh Cheoil na hÉireann in Londonderry. Cookstown Folk Club will be travelling to the North West on Thursday 15th August to play as the opening act at the Guinness Gig Rig. This is the first time that the Fleadh Cheoil has taken place in Northern Ireland and to be selected to open the gig rig is again a real privilege.
Cookstown Folk Club first came together in September 2011 thanks to local musician Donald Canavan. Building on the success of the Traditional Music in Schools project the club has provided the opportunity for previous young members who have left primary school to come together again to practise and develop their musical skills.
Whilst Donald is the man in charge and without whom the club would never have happened, the backup and support of several local musicians has been vital to the club and enabled them to prosper far beyond expectation.
The club’s participation at the Fleadh Cheoil is an opportunity not only for the young members of Cookstown Folk Club to showcase their musical talents to a wide audience, but also an occasion to acknowledge the invaluable contribution and to celebrate the skills of Bobby Martin, Seamus O’Hagan, Darren O’Hagan, Micky Farrell, Siobhan Sweeney , Paul Brennan, Johnston Hughes and Tom McQueen.
So there it is - two exciting showcase performances coming up over the next two weeks - and two fantastic groups representing Cookstown.
All the best to both the Youth Choir and the Folk Club for your upcoming events and in all your future ventures! There is no doubt you are doing our district proud!