Carndonagh Community College

Tony Bramwell was over here recently for the finals of the Moville & Greencastle Music Academy’s Songwriter Contest. There were performers from far and wide with a load from Derry and others from Dublin, Manchester, London and one from America. Tony, who has now started his own record label, spotted some talent when he was here and took away a load of CDs.

Whilst he was here I thought it would be a good idea to contact some local schools to see if they would like Tony to come along and talk to the children and Carndonagh Community College’s Principal, Paul Fiorentini, took us up on the offer.

We drove there along with one of the areas top musicians Paddy McLaughlin. It was supposed to be for the Transition Year students but classloads of pupils from other classes came along as well along with their teachers.

Songs and Music

Paddy McLaughlin played a Beatles song, When I’m Sixty Four, from memory and another song. Young Jessica Harkin, who took part in, and did well in, the songwriter contest, and who is a student at Carndonagh Community College, played a couple of songs too, including one of her entries for the Songwriter COntest and another girl, whose name I didn’t catch, sang too.

Then Tony gave a talk about his time with the Beatles and other famous people he knew, including about the time he went out with Christine Keeler from the Profumo Scandal which brought down the Conservative Government in Britain the early Sixties and how he went out with a Miss World and married Miss Norway.

He was talking about how he put on Jimi Hendrix’s first ever major gig in the Saville Theatre in London bringing along the Beatles and lots of other top artists to watch when he suddenly said “but you probably wouldn’t know who Jimi Hendrix was”. “I know Jimi Hendrix” said a young lad in the front row maybe even a little indignantly.

Great Children

I must say that they were a very well-behaved and attentive bunch and I was surprised how knowledgeable the questions were. I was also surprised at the end how many of them stayed behind to queue up for Tony’s autograph and to get their pictures taken with him on their mobile phones.

One young lad who was queuing up for an autograph looked at me and pointed to Paddy McLaughlin and asked me “Is he one of the Beatles?” That made Paddy’s day and he has been telling the tale since.

At the end of the talk Paddy asked how many of them had a Beatles CD in their house and about two-thirds of the hands went up. When asked how many of them had played a Beatles CD almost half the hands went up. Tony went to Scoil Eoghain a couple of years ago when he gave a talk and Paddy played in front of the pupils, teachers and students and we had a great time.

Likes the Area

Tony is very impressed about all things in his area, including the people, the Guinness and the scenery. Indeed he told local journalist, Katie Barr, that his favourite three places in the world are Nashville, Hawaii and Moville. Now he has sampled Carndonagh too and was impressed by the pupils at the Community College there and the teachers too.

It’s a great bunch of youngsters that we have in the area both in school and out of school. With all the hardships that they face in these difficult times one wouldn’t have been surprised if vandalism, theft etc. would be soaring but they haven’t been. You would have expected a certain surliness but it just isn’t there. The schoolchildren were polite and good-mannered and are tribute a to both their parents and the school.

The day after Tony left, Moville Community College’s music teacher got in touch and said that they would like Tony to come up to the school.

Shame! That would have been good.

However, Tony loves it here and it is the 7th time he has come to Moville and he is sure to be back again.

Well Known

The pupils didn’t all know about the people who Tony was talking about but there was one guy from the Sixties that they all knew about. I asked Tony a question towards the end if he knew Jimmy Saville. He did, as he had put on the Beatles Christmas Special in the first year and also knew him as a DJ.

As Tony was the Beatles marketing and PR guy, as well as the road manager and talent scout, he had a reasonable contact with Saville as Tony was the guy who supplied the new records to the DJs. He didn’t say so at the time but in the car afterwards Tony said that they all thought Saville was a creep back in those days and heard the rumours about him afterwards.

It was a great day out, thoroughly enjoyed by Tony. Paul McCartney has asked him to be an ambassador for the Beatles and to do visits like this and Tony reports back to him on his visits to Moville and what happened here during the BeatlesFest etc. – so Sir Paul will be hearing about his trip to Carndonagh Community College – and you can be sure it will be positive.

To find out more about Tony click on Tony Bramwell