Ringsend’s Got Talent

Pictured above: Brandon Caulfield, Linda Keating, Paula Caulfield, and Jamie Purcell with the cheque for €410 for the Marie Keating Foundation

Pictured above: Brandon Caulfield, Linda Keating, Paula Caulfield, and Jamie Purcell with the cheque for €410 for the Marie Keating Foundation

On Thursday, 18th February, D4 locals Jamie Purcell and Brandon Caulfield set out to prove once and for all that Ringsend really does have talent when Ringsend and Irishtown Community Centre (RICC) played host to the debut ‘Ringsend’s Got Talent’ contest. The two second-year students from Marian College came up with the idea last Christmas.

Jamie is recalling the lightbulb moment: “I remember the exact date. It was Christmas Eve, and we were both talking about it at Brandon’s house. We went down and told his mam Paula and she thought it was a great idea. When I told my parents they thought the same, so it went on from there.”

The competition was open to all performers between the ages of 9 to 15 and attracted some of the top talent from the area including dancers, singers, a pianist and a group of guitar players. As well as being something for the community, it is a fundraising event with all proceeds going to the Marie Keating Foundation.

ringsends got talent

“The foundation sent in all of the merchandise that is for sale at the front desk. My mam Paula was very supportive and helped us with approaching sponsors and general organisation,” said Brandon.

The boys agreed that all of their extended families chipped in while local businesses have been exceptional with the provision of spot prizes. The list of sponsors includes Fair Play Café, The Yacht, Spar, Sally’s Return, M&S, the Grand Barbers, Bradley’s Pharmacy and the Bridge Café.

Hosts and guest performers for the night, Jamie and Brandon are unfazed, as both are used to performing. Jamie tells NewsFour, “I’m always getting asked to sing for family and friends. Whenever we go on holidays I am the first to be called on.”

Brandon has turned his attention from singing to the guitar. “I am taking lessons with Dylan Clayton and would like to give lessons too eventually.” They are playing the Emeli Sande number, ‘Clown’.

NewsFour got the chance to talk to some of the contestants before the performance. Megan Russell and Sophie O’Neill are a singing double act and are not affected by stage fright at all; while Nikita Byrne is attempting to quell her jitters with a practice run of Sande’s ‘Read all About It’ before the show starts.

Natasha O’Neill is the solo dance performer of the evening. She has come up with a routine to go with Rachel Platten’s powerful track ‘Fight Song’. “It’s a song about fighting cancer,” she tells NewsFour. Natasha is hoping to take up free-style dance again and her previous experience as a gymnast is coming in handy for her performance tonight.

Ciara Gannon is feeling the butterflies despite being involved with a group of producers called ‘Future Creators’ who will be making a movie for TV3 later in the year.

The independent judges singled out Natasha O’Neill for the top prize on the night.

The credit for the very successful night, however, must go to the two inspirational and motivated young men, Jamie and Brandon. They took the idea from conception, through all of the steps necessary, to make the night run smoothly with an air of professionalism worthy of adults working in the entertainment business.

It was a fantastic evening that brought groups of local young people together in an encouraging environment conducive to building the self-esteem and confidence of all taking part. Jamie and Brandon will need to think up a catchy name for themselves as they are a duo we have not seen the last of.

NewsFour caught up with the duo again for the presentation of the cheque to Linda Keating of the Marie Keating Foundation. “I think they are brilliant to pull such a great event together at such short notice and at such a young age,” Keating told NewsFour. The evening raised €410 which will be going to the foundation’s ‘Comfort Fund.’

“We do not receive any government funding so donations like this will help enormously. The Comfort Fund allows people who are going through chemotherapy to keep their heating on throughout the year, “ Keating noted.

Brandon and Jamie hope to build on this success for next year and are already involved in another charity initiative in their school in aid of the ISPCC, called the Marian Mile. Keep an eye on our next issue for updates.

By Maria Shields O’Kelly