Blue Skies... and plenty of Hope on the horizon

While most Leaving Cert students are stressing about college applications and upcoming exams, 17-year-old Jessica Knoblauch has been busy launching her first album.

It was inspired by her school trip on the Hope Foundation’s transition year Immersion Education Programme to India in 2010. The Midleton College student was moved to combine her musical ambition with helping a cause which left a lasting impression on her.

“I always wanted to make an album and the idea of using it to help the Hope Foundation just felt like the right thing to do,” she said.

Having played piano and sung in a number of Kerry hotels during her summer holidays, the chance to record her first album came about from a 17th birthday present. “Guests in the hotels would always ask if I had an album they could buy, and when my grandmother gave me a birthday gift of a studio recording session, I was able to finally record my first album,” she explained.

Having composed and written much of the album herself, Jessica cites the song, ‘Hope’, as being closest to her heart.

“It was directly inspired by my trip to the Hope projects in the Kolkata slums. It was such an amazing experience that I would love to go back again sometime, perhaps for a longer period.”

The album, Blue Skies, available through the Hope website, costs €10 with all proceeds going directly to rescuing children from the streets and slums of Kolkata.

Having used her own money to produce the CD, Jessica hopes to raise €1,000 for the Hope Foundation through her act of musical altruism.

“If all of the CDs sell, I will get more made and raise more money,” she adds.

Even two years later, the memories of her trip to Kolkata remain vivid.

“Despite all of the terrible suffering and poverty everywhere, I remember the happiness of people who had nothing but still smiled. It made me really appreciate my life.”

* www.hopefoundation.ie

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