A choir of seven Music Generation Young Ambassadors, including two young singers from Cork city, joined U2 guitarist The Edge in making history as they performed live at the Sistine Chapel, Rome, on Saturday, 30 April as part of a conference on regenerative medicine, Cellular Horizons.

Music Generation Cork City participants Claudia Sheehan (Fairhill) and Nicole Alcock (Gurranabraher), both age 14 years, joined young singers from Carlow and Mayo for this momentous occasion – the first ever performance by a contemporary artist at the Vatican venue.

The choir, which was specially formed for the concert, performed a cover of Leonard Cohen’s If It Be Your Will as well as versions of U2 songs Yahweh, Ordinary Love and Walk On, together with The Edge on acoustic guitar and vocals.

Claudia and Nicole, who are students at Terence McSwiney Community College, Hollyhill, take part in Music Generation Cork City’s Sound OUT programmes with tutors Gráinne McHale and Aoibheann Carey-Philpott.

Both young singers were invited to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime event as Music Generation Young Ambassadors – an initiative that offers young musicians valuable opportunities to perform at national and international events each year.

As Young Ambassadors, Claudia and Nicole previously performed at The Ireland Funds’ annual conference in Killarney.

In the weeks leading up to this very special concert, Claudia, Nicole and the five other talented choir members came together to rehearse under the direction of Musical Director and Arranger Dawn Kenny.

Claudia and Nicole shared their response to this amazing experience: “It was a life-changing moment, to sing with The Edge in the Sistine Chapel. The Edge is such an inspiring and brilliant musician and we learned so much from performing with him. We’re really grateful to have had this opportunity and to have met the other singers from other Music Generation programmes in Ireland. The whole experience was like a dream.”

“It was a life-changing moment, to sing with The Edge in the Sistine Chapel.”

Speaking of the performance, Music Generation Cork City Coordinator Kay Taaffe said: “I am extremely proud of Claudia and Nicole who represented Music Generation Cork City with enormous skill and professionalism at such a unique and special event. This is an opportunity that they will remember forever and it would not have been possible without their commitment, or without the support of Music Generation’s partners in Cork City: Cork Education and Training Board, Cork City Council, the HSE, CIT, UCC and Cork City Partnership.”

Principal at Terence McSwiney Community College, Phil O’Flynn said: “Claudia and Nicole are incredible ambassadors for our school, for Music Generation and for all aspiring young singers and musicians in Cork City. To have the chance to perform on an international stage with such a highly-regarded artist is something that most young people could only dream of. We are so grateful that our students have been able to avail of the chance to participate and that they will continue to hone their craft through Music Generation programmes in Cork City over the coming years.”

Music Generation National Director Rosaleen Molloy said: “I would like to congratulate these wonderful young people on their stunning performance. It has been such a privilege for Music Generation to have been invited to be part of this prestigious event together with The Edge – a remarkable opportunity for all seven young musicians to bring their talents to an international stage. Truly they have done both Music Generation and their country proud. We look forward to following their bright musical journeys in the future.”

On the night the choir performed with The Edge to a group of around 200 doctors, researchers and philanthropists who were attending the ‘Third International Conference on the Progress of Regenerative Medicine and its Cultural Impact’ at the Vatican.