1,200 local PS children gather in city for Music Fest celebration

St Patrick's Primary School Dunamanagh Strabane
St Patrick's Primary School Dunamanagh Strabane

Over one thousand primary school children from Londonderry, Tyrone and Fermanagh packed the Millennium Forum for the Education Authority (EA) ‘MusicFest’ celebrations recently.

Two music workshops were attended by 1,200 pupils.

The focus for this year’s workshops was ‘Movie Magic.’

A thirty piece orchestra, along with vocalists from the Musical Pathways to Learning (MPL) team, led Key Stage 2 pupils in well-known classics from the movies, including Disney favourites, Batman and Despicable Me, and themes and songs from James Bond and Star Wars.

Dónal Doherty, Head of the EA’s Music Service, said: “The level of participation at the workshop sessions and the quality of all the performances at the evening concert was outstanding. I would like to pay tribute to the commitment and talents of all the young musicians, their teachers and all music service staff. The event was a real celebration of the value of music education and the key role it plays in the lives of all our young people.”

MusicFest, now celebrating its thirteenth consecutive year, brings together some of the most talented young musicians from throughout the Western Region in an exciting celebration of music. The evening concert involved more than 250 musicians performing in string groups, bands, orchestras and choirs, which filled the Millennium Forum with a dazzling selection of music. A wide variety of styles including classical, traditional and jazz, as well as some specially arranged and newly composed pieces, were performed as part of this annual showcase.

The Senior Youth Orchestra was joined in performance by the BBC’s Marie-Louise Muir, a former cellist with the orchestra. She was making a documentary for BBC Radio 4 reflecting on her life with the Youth Orchestra and how it influenced her career in the media and creative industries. The popular and rousing music from the film Star Wars provided a fitting finale to the concert and a memorable day of wonderful music.

Local schools taking part included: Ebrington PS; Nazareth House PS; Sacred Heart PS; St Patrick’s PS, Donemana; Donemana PS, Strabane; St Catherine’s PS, Strabane; St Joseph’s PS, Glenmornan, Strabane; Bunscoil Cholmcille, Derry; Ardnashee School and College; Lisnagelvin PS;

Knockavoe School and Resource Centre, Strabane; Groarty Integrated PS; St Patrick’s PS, Pennyburn; Holy Family PS; Ballougry PS; Eglinton PS; and Fountain PS.

The successful event followed another Education Authority event in June when music students from Londonderry and Limavady received awards at the Education Authority west region Music Service prize-giving.

That event was staged at Strule Arts Centre, Omagh, and was used to showcase pupils from across the west performing music on a wide range of instruments at different stages of musical development.