3 May 2016 - A choir of seven Music Generation Young Ambassadors from Carlow, Cork City and Mayo joined U2 guitarist The Edge in making history as they performed live at the Sistine Chapel, Rome, on Saturday, 30 April as part of Cellular Horizons, a conference on regenerative medicine. The performance was the first ever by a contemporary artist at the Vatican venue – one of the most spectacular in the world – and featured a cover of Leonard Cohen’s If It Be Your Will as well as versions of U2 songs Yahweh, Ordinary Love and Walk On, with The Edge on acoustic guitar and vocals, backed by the young singers.
The choir was specially formed for the occasion and included participants in Music Generation programmes in three different counties: Abbie Kelly, Cillian Dooley, Katie Brennan and Joe Jennings from Carlow, Claudia Sheehan and Nicole Alcock from Cork City, and Naoise Hughes from Mayo.
As Music Generation Young Ambassadors, these and hundreds of other young musicians in Ireland are provided with valuable opportunities to perform at national and international events each year. In the lead up to this very special event – the first ever international performance by Music Generation Young Ambassadors – these seven enormously talented young singers came together from across the country to rehearse under the direction of musical director and arranger Dawn Kenny.
Speaking of the performance, Music Generation National Director Rosaleen Molloy said: “I would like to congratulate these wonderful young people on their stunning performance. It has been such a privilege for Music Generation to have been invited to be part of this prestigious event together with The Edge – a remarkable opportunity for all seven young musicians to bring their talents to an international stage. Truly they have done both Music Generation and their country proud. We look forward to following their bright musical journeys over the coming years.”
On the night the choir performed with The Edge to a group of around 200 doctors, researchers and philanthropists who were attending the ‘Third International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and its Cultural Impact’ at the Vatican.
About Music Generation
Music Generation is Ireland’s National Music Education Programme which transforms the lives of children and young people through access to high quality, subsidised performance music education. Initiated by Music Network, Music Generation is co-funded by U2, The Ireland Funds, The Department of Education and Skills and Local Music Education Partnerships.
Music Generation was made possible by a €7m philanthropic donation from U2 (€5m) and The Ireland Funds (€2m) which was gifted to progress the implementation of Music Network’s Feasibility Study for a National System of Local Music Education Services. This was the largest ever philanthropic donation to music education in Ireland in the history of the State.
Currently Music Generation local Music Education Partnerships (MEPs) are established in 12 areas of the country: Carlow, Clare, Cork City, Laois, Limerick City, Louth, Mayo, Offaly / Westmeath, Sligo, South Dublin and Wicklow. These programmes, formed during Phase 1 of Music Generation (2010 – 2015), are co-funded by Government through the Department of Education and Skills (DES) and matched on a 50/50 basis by funding generated by MEPs, ensuring a long-term and lasting outcome from U2 and The Ireland Funds’ philanthropic giving.
Phase 2 of Music Generation has been initiated through a further €3m donation from U2 (€2m) and The Ireland Funds (€1m) in 2015. This gift, together with the €1m donation by The Stavros Niarchos Foundation, will enable the expansion of the programme into up to nine new areas of the country between 2016 and 2020. The Department of Education and Skills has pledged its commitment to sustaining co-funding for Phase 2 together with local MEPs into the future, from 2020.
Music Generation believes in every child and young person’s musical potential and their innate artistry, that it is every child and young person’s right to have the choice of access and the chance to participate as a musical citizen and that music doesn’t just change lives, it transforms lives. The programme focuses on performance music education – that is vocal and instrumental tuition, encompassing all music genres and all types of instruments and vocal styles, delivered by skilled professional musicians interacting in an inspirational way with children and young people.