A 10-year-old girl who attends a special needs school in Co Down is being tipped for musical stardom after her Christmas performance of Hallelujah reduced adults to tears.
Kaylee Rogers, a pupil at Killard House School in Donaghadee, was chosen to sing a special biblical version of the Leonard Cohen classic for the school’s festive end-of-year shows. The primary seven pupil, who has moderate learning difficulties, gave an emotional performance of the song at three Christmas concerts, supported by Killard’s middle school choir.
A video of Kaylee’s rendition was also shown at a carol service at First Newtownards Presbyterian church, leaving many of the congregation in tears. It has since been uploaded on Facebook and has been shared up to 1,000 times so far.
Colin Millar, principal of Killard special school, which provides education for children with learning difficulties, speech and language difficulties and autism, said everyone who heard Kaylee sing was blown away by the power and the tone of her voice. And he said he believed she had a special gift which needed to be shared.
Speaking to Belfast Live, Mr Millar said: “Kaylee came to us in primary four and our music teacher, Lloyd Scates, who is a musician and has his own band, spotted her talent straight away.
“He got her to sing a few solos and she performed at the Easter and Harvest concerts, which helped her confidence to grow. Kaylee is a lovely child; she’s very quiet and shy, but when she opens her mouth to sing, something wonderful happens.
“She may only be a child but she has an amazing tone to her voice and when I heard her sing Hallelujah, I can honestly say the hairs stood up on the back of my neck and I had tears in my eyes.
“Kaylee was supposed to perform at a carol service at First Newtownards Presbyterian church at the weekend but was unfortunately ill. We showed the video of her singing instead and it’s fair to say there wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
“I believe she has a very special gift which needs to be heard. Her voice is a complete joy.”
Killard school caters for around 200 children in total, aged between three and 16. Each year the school stages three different Christmas shows, according to age and this year, Kaylee was given the star role of singing Hallelujah at each of the three concerts.
Mr Millar said he hoped the Donaghadee girl went on to receive the right training to help her fulfil her potential as a performer.
“I’ve spoken to Kaylee’s mum and she’s keen to organise vocal coaching for her,” he said. “Kaylee has a special talent that needs to be harnessed and nurtured.
“She has the voice of an angel and I believe she could go very far.”
And he said he was proud of all the children involved.
“The whole production of Hallelujah is really beautiful and it’s just brilliant that these children, many of whom have learning difficulties and other issues, are bringing joy to other people with their singing.”Event occurred 156 days ago