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24 May 2022

Derry girl lands Derry’s second spot in semi-final of BBC NI's Soloist of the Year 2022

Derry girl lands Derry’s second spot in semi-final of BBC NI's Soloist of the Year 2022

Francesca Kelly, from St. Oliver Plunkett Primary School, has secured a place in the Semi-Finals of BBC NI's Soloist of the Year 2022

Francesca Kelly, from St. Oliver Plunkett Primary School, has secured a place in the Semi-Finals of BBC NI's Soloist of the Year 2022.

While the school choir has entered the competition previously, Francesca is the first child the school has entered for the individual competition and made the application for her.

 It is the second time the school has put the primary 7 pupil forward. They previously entered Francesca in 2020. 

She qualified for the heats but, due to Covid, the event was cancelled and did not get the chance to progress further.

School Principal, Eamonn Moore, said although Francesca didn’t get to progress the first time round, the school got to enjoy her beautiful voice as she performed at the school's First Communion and Confirmation ceremonies. 

“When the competition was resurrected this year, we immediately forwarded her application,” Mr Moore said. 

“Francesca's phenomenal talent deserves to be celebrated. All the pupils can celebrate Francesca's achievement on our Good News Wall. 

“I am definitely hearing a lot more singing in the corridors, and that is not just the children.

“The entire school community is so proud of Francesca, not just for her talent but for her modesty when sharing her voice and her positivity in all aspects of her life. 

“Francesca is a shining example of the amazing talent that the children of St. Oliver Plunkett Primary School display every day.”

The competition, usually held as ‘BBC Northern Ireland School Choir of the Year,’ has become ‘School Soloist of the Year' due to Covid restrictions.

Therefore, this year, the BBC is on the hunt for the best school soloists from across Northern Ireland as pupils take part in the competition on their own instead of as part of their school choir.

The semi finals will take place at the beginning of February 2022 at the BBC Blackstaff Studios in Belfast. 

The show will be broadcast on BBC Radio Ulster at a later date that is yet to be confirmed.

The final of the show is to be televised later this year.

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