If you have ever wondered about the level of talent of the youth of Tipperary, the question was answered definitively in Ballykisteen Hotel recently when 18 talented acts, all students from the Abbey CBS, St Anne’s or St Ailbe’s Schools battled it out in the A Factor talent show competition.
The show was organised to showcase the variety and exceptional ability of the students in the Tipperary area and to encourage young people to recognise their own talents and have the confidence to utilise this talent for the enjoyment of others. What was also exceptional to this event is the fact that it was organised by youths themselves and it was a remarkable example of young people working together with respect and support for each other.
A great atmosphere was evident from the very start of the evening when compere Sherine Prendergast, former Macra na Feirme Queen of The Land, opened proceedings to over 320 enthusiastic supporters in the packed venue of Ballykisteen Hotel. It was never going to be an easy task for the three judges – Ms Breda McCarthy from Tipperary Credit Union, Mr. David Condon from Tipperary Mid-West Radio and Aoife O’Meara, The pride of Tipperary - with the spectacular displays of musical talent including a 12 person choir, a quartet, several duets on guitar, rock bands, solo, acapella and a special rendition of the cup song to choose from. What was most impressive was the very enthusiastic reception each act received and the respectful silence when the entrants made their bid to claim the prize.
The first act on stage was Claire O’Dwyer and Marie Kinane from St Anne’s who performed an excellent rendition of little talks using guitar and tin whistle. Next up was the trad group, Trad Beats, who had many different instruments and even included an Irish dancer. Then there was Connor Duffey who did an absolutely fantastic version of ‘How to Save a Life’. From St Anne’s there was the Choir, who performed, Viva la Vida and used a combination of instruments and harmonies to wow the audience. Following the choir the band, The Alberts, performed there set with a very cool and jazzy sound. Joe Dawson and Daniel Slater then did a very original rendition of the popular song, Thrift Shop, using a Cajon drum and a guitar. Next came Anisha O’Dwyer who used nothing but her voice to enthrall the audience. Gráinne Hayes and Aisling O’Gorman were up next and performed acapella with no backing track. They were followed by the band Jinx who did, Black Chandelier by Biffy Clyro. The final act before the interval did not disappoint. Mikaela Coffey and Hannah Dowdall wowed the crowd with their voices and guitar skills. Starting off the second half was Shane McGrath, Patrick Crehon and Kevin Kinane who did My Little Honda 50, and they did not disappoint. The lads got the crowd going immediately, people were cheering during their entire performance. Next up was Lauren Brown who sang Adele’s, ‘Rolling in the Deep’. Following Lauren was Andrea Landy, Mikaela Curra, Siobhán O’Shea and Sarah O’Neill who sang cannonball by little mix. Up next were Sarah Halligan, Rachel Shiels, Ceilidh Hennessy and Katie O’Neill who did a very original performance of the cup song. Then we had Paddy Donovan who sang all those beautiful girls, a mixture between different songs, this performance was much enjoyed by the audience. Megan Keating O’Connor was next who sang very powerfully and played guitar very skillfully. The next act was Elizabeth Kennedy who sang with a very unique voice and was loved by the audience. To finish up the night Brian Kinane who sang and Luke McGrath who played guitar did a beautiful rendition of the coronas heroes and ghosts and was heavily applauded by the audience.
However, winners had to be chosen and there was little disagreement when the choir was announced in 3rd place, Hannah Dowdall and Mikaela Coffey in second place and the first place winners of Shane McGrath, Patrick Crehon and Kevin Kinane received an overwhelming celebratory cheer for their rendition of My little Honda 50.
Uniquely, it was a team of 5 students from The Abbey that undertook the project and organised the full event with sponsorship from Tipperary Credit Union. All funds raised from the event were donated towards the provision of a school oratory in the Abbey School. Mr. John Heffernan, Principal of the Abbey School commended the 5 members of this organising committee, Donagh Crowe, Robert O’Donnell, Stephen Cunningham, Seán Meagher and Pearse O’Dwyer who had put immense effort and dedication to the success of the evening.
Student Donagh Crowe, Project Leader, on behalf of the organising committee thanked the three schools for their interest in the event.
“I would like to thank a number of people that made it all possible, Pat Marnane, Miss Susan Doherty, Mr. P.J. Ryan, Ms Clare Long the Tipperary Credit Union, Lisa McGrath in Tipperary Regional Youth Services and Secretaries Kathleen and Bernie in the Abbey School. This event was only possible because the school had entrusted responsibilities to the group and these were taken seriously by all to ensure that a successful event was hosted that made visible all that is positive about the youth in this area.”
All of those that participated in the acts of the show had exceptional musical talent and ability. All of the supporters showed immense pride in their favourite act and in their schools participants. The level of respect from the students towards the musicians and performers was palatable in the hall with appropriate silence and cheering for each act. It is very possible that the A factor will be an event on the yearly school calendar into the future.