The all-singing and all-dancing Young Americans youth music advocacy group rocked in to Beara Community School late last week as part of their whirlwind global tour.
The group, who came fresh from a performance at Belfast’s Waterfront Hall, installed their own lighting rigs, sound system and props, transforming the local sports hall into a theatre.
The 45-strong group then spent two days delivering music and performance workshops to first, second, fourth, and fifth-year Beara students, as well as 30 students from local primary schools.
It culminated in a two-hour concert with the local students taking centre stage.
Beara Community School principal Mary O’Sullivan said it was an “absolutely fantastic experience”.
“The buzz around the place was fantastic,” she said.
“It was personal development in action. One student said to me that if I had told him two weeks ago that he would have been up singing and dancing in front of a crowd, he would have said ‘no way’!”
“The Young American performers brought everyone together, and helped boost the students’ confidence and self discipline.”
She praised staff, parents, and the local community which rallied round to accommodate the Young Americans.
And she said such was the response to the initiative, she had already provisionally booked the group to perform in Beara again next year.
The Young Americans, based at a Fame-style College of the Performing Arts in California, is one of the world’s oldest and largest youth music advocacy groups.
The college provides student performers aged between 17 and 23 with education in music, dance, performance, and teaching methods.
They then embark on a world tour delivering music outreach workshops to students around the world, using their training to promote the importance of music education in schools.
They ultimately hope to support the development of a creative learning environment that fosters artistic, intellectual and personal growth for those interested in becoming performers or arts educators.
The Young Americans was founded in 1962 and, during the 60s and 70s, its members appeared on variety shows singing and dancing with entertainers such as Judy Garland, Johnny Mathis, Julie Andrews, James McCraken, Dorothy KirstenVic Damone, George Burns, Henry Mancini, and Dean Martin.
The group is currently at St Mary’s Secondary School in Ballina for its next set of workshops.