Derry soprano to sing at Philadelphia Papal Mass

Pope Francis conducts Mass outside the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC. Picture by AP 

A SOPRANO from Derry will sing for the Pope on Sunday as he concludes his first US visit.

Margaret Keys, pictured, will join some of the world’s leading artists, including Andrea Bocelli and Aretha Franklin, to perform for the pontiff.

A former teacher at St Eithne’s Primary School in Derry, Ms Keys will sing at the World Festival of Families being held in Philadelphia over the weekend.

The open-air concert will be hosted by actor Mark Wahlberg and feature comedian Jim Gaffigan and the Philadelphia Orchestra.

The entertainment continues on Sunday in the hours leading up to the Papal Mass.

Nine artists and groups will perform with the day’s entertainment more spiritual in nature than those performers featured during the preceding day’s Festival of Families.

With an estimated audience of up to 1.2 million people watching, Ms Keys will give her performance ahead of the Papal Mass.

The classical singer, who is the daughter of former SDLP Derry City councillor Bill Keys, has said she believes her performance on Vatican Radio in Rome last year had contributed to her selection for the papal visit performance.

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan last night said there was great pride and joy in Derry for the singer.

“There will be great pride and a lot of joy for Margaret and her family that she has been chosen for this special performance,” he said.

“It is well-deserved recognition of her special talent and warm spirit.

“She knows how proud her father would have been on this signal occasion, but she should also know that pride will not just be reflected in her own family but across the city among all who admire her gift and cherish his memory.”


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