Presentation Secondary School Ballyphehane, Winners of 2013 All Island School Choir Competition

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PRESENTATION SECONDARY SCHOOL BALLYPHEHANE were announced as winners of the All Island School Choir Competition 2013 which took place at Titanic Belfast on Sunday 24 November. The Grand Final saw four schools compete in front of an invited audience at the Titanic Belfast, which included the First Minister and the Deputy First Minister of Northern Ireland, Peter Robinson, MP, MLA, and Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA who jointly presented the trophy to the winning school.

Organised by Co-operation Ireland, in association with RTÉ, the All Island School Choir Competition, presented by Anne Cassin, forms a five-part television series celebrating and encouraging the tradition of choral music in second-level schools throughout Ireland.

The competition saw entries from schools all over the island of Ireland, with 20 schools chosen to perform at regional finals. Four schools made it through to the final who performed on night from the steps of the famous replica Titanic Grand Staircase on the top floor of the iconic building in Belfast: Blackrock College, Dublin; Strathearn School, Belfast; Ursuline College, Sligo; and Presentation College, Ballyphehane, Cork.

Winning choir director Anne Dunphy said following the announcement:“It's been a fantastic experience for the girls in teamwork, commitment and achieving goals. I'd like to thank RTÉ, Co-operation Ireland and especially Tommie Gorman for their dedication in organising the competition. Wining the All Island School Choir Competition means so much to not only the girls in the choir, but to the whole school and the wider community".

Peter Sheridan, Chief Executive of Co-operation Ireland, said: “ I congratulate Ballyphehane Presentation Secondary School for their very deserved success in winning this year’s All-Island School Choir Competition. Their success is a culmination of many long hours learning lyrics and rehearsing and now their hard work has paid off. I also commend the other choirs who reached the final, that in itself is an achievement. This competition plays a significant part in Co-operation Ireland’s objective of working towards a shared society on this island. This year 79 schools from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland entered and 735 young people from 20 schools participated in the regional finals. The competition has created the conditions for these young people to meet and make new friendships. I believe the presence of the First and Deputy First Minister this evening reflects the importance in which they hold this competition and the work of Co-operation Ireland.”

Executive Producer for RTÉ, Tommie Gorman, said: “For the past five years, this competition has been a celebration of the ethos of teamwork and friendship promoted in school choirs. We are proud to be able to broadcast these beautiful musical performances and showcase the talents of young people to hundreds of thousands of viewers throughout the island of Ireland. This has been a wonderful night for all the choirs who competed here in Titanic Belfast and also for all the choirs who entered and competed this year. ”

This year two of the four regional finals were staged in the magnificent St. Patrick’s College Chapel at NUI Maynooth with the other two regional events held in the Curtis Auditorium at the Cork School of Music and the Braid Theatre, Ballymena. Co Antrim. All four regional finals were broadcast on Sunday evenings on RTÉ One in the month leading up to the final.

The competition was launched in 2009 and is now in its fifth year. Last year’s winners, Methodist College, Belfast were also victorious in 2009. Wesley College, Ballinteer won in 2011, while Presentation College, Ballyphehane also took the title in 2010.

The overall winners receive £4,000 and each of the other finalist choirs is awarded £1,000.

The adjudicators for this year’s competition were:
Seamus Crimmins, former Executive Director, RTÉ Performance Groups, and musical advisor to the Arts Council
Dr Angela Feeney, Belfast Opera singer and teacher
Mark Duley, organist at St Nicholas Church, Galway and renowned chorister
Dr Geoffrey Spratt, Director, Cork School of Music and Conductor of the Fleischmann Choir.