Derry musician Redmond Friel honored with blue plaque

THE life of one of Derry’s most accomplished musicians, teachers and composers, Redmond Friel, will be commemorated later today when a blue plaque is unveiled in his honour.

Organized by the Ulster History Circle, the blue plaque program pays tribute to the men and women who have contributed to the history of Northern Ireland.

Later today a plaque will be placed at Chapel Road Primary School in Derry to honor Mr Friel who taught and became headmaster of the school.

Born in Derry in 1907, Mr. Friel’s interest and career in music spanned 65 years during which time he taught some of the greatest musical talent to emerge from the North West. His students included songwriter, Kevin Brady, musician/composer, Phil Coulter, composer, Kevin O’Connell and many more.

An award-winning musician, he played piano, cello, organ and clarinet. As well as teaching at Chapel Road Primary School, he taught part-time at St Columb’s College. As a choirmaster he has been involved with a number of choirs, including the award-winning Foyle Singers. From 1930 to 1975 he was organist and choir master at St Columb’s Church.

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A renowned composer, he was also known as a music judge at festivals across Ireland. On his death, his own ‘Mass for Columb’, marking the centenary of St Columb’s College, was performed during his Requiem.

Chairman of the Ulster History Circle, Chris Spurr said Mr Friel had shared his love of music with many pupils over the years.

“The Ulster History Circle is delighted to commemorate this distinguished musician with a blue plaque at the school where he achieved a unique treble as pupil, teacher and headmaster,” Mr Spurr said.

Today’s inauguration ceremony will take place at 11am.

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