Saturday 16 November 2019

Brian in plea to save music project from final curtain

Nicola Anderson

Nicola Anderson

SINGER Brian Kennedy took a seat in the audience for a change as he enjoyed the musical stylings of some Dublin youngsters.

The 'Music for Me' programme brings song and beat to the lives of children who might otherwise never have the chance to take private lessons.

But after seven years of enriching the lives of hundreds of families in Dublin's south canal communities, the scheme is in serious trouble with no Arts Council funding for next year.

Unless a sponsor comes forward, the programme -- run by cultural body Common Ground in conjunction with homework clubs in Dolphin House, St Michael's Family Resource Centre and Fatima -- will be forced to close.

Siobhan Geoghegan, artistic director of Common Ground, said she was very concerned how the benefits of the arts are distributed across Irish society and how, in the face of public funding cuts, programmes like 'Music for Me' can continue.

As special guest yesterday at a concert to celebrate 'Music for Me', Mr Kennedy said he was saddened but "not surprised" that funding had been axed.

"It's always the things that are worthwhile which lose the funding," he said. Music brings huge opportunities for children in difficult places -- and he knows first hand.

"I grew up on the Falls Road and music saved me," he said. "In these days of bullying on Facebook, iPods and where there seems to be more reasons for children to stay in their room, it's fantastic for kids to be able to get together and sing.

"Writing their own songs gives them a chance to say how they really feel."

With lively rhythm and beats, children took to the stage to sing the compositions they had written together. Ryan Collins (16) from Dolphin's Barn said writing music had greatly boosted his confidence.

Irish Independent

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