"I will always be grateful to Una and Ciaran for taking me under their wing and looking after me, not only musically but also as true friends."
"I really believe that the most important aspect of singing is to sing from the heart and Una has a wonderful, inspiring way of teaching where she always encourages you to delve inside the music to truly understand everything that you are singing about- this makes for the most beautiful and honest of performers. The McCafferty School for me is like a family and I feel very lucky to have been a part of it. Although I moved away to London almost 5 years ago to continue my training Una, Ciaran and I have remained wonderful friends and it's lovely to know that no matter I will always have their support. "
"I have no doubt that the MacCafferty School of Music will continue to be the inspiration for many young performers and long may it continue to be such a warm and welcoming place."
"I started singing lessons at the Mc Cafferty School of Music at the tender age of 4 years old. The lovely gentleman that was Mr James Mc Cafferty first opened his door to me at Francis Street, Derry, with a wide smile, a pipe in his hand and a talent that he was willing to share. He introduced me to singing and performing and I have never looked back. Together with his daughter, Una, they created a friendly and fun atmosphere in their lessons which gave me the confidence I needed to carry from my singing lesson on to the stage as a performer."
"As part of the Mc Cafferty School of Music, I competed successfully in Feiseanna and won several bursaries and awards. I also achieved my singing grades with distinctions from the Trinity College of Music, London, and was awarded the Trinity College of Music Medal for the highest mark in graded examinations. All of these opportunities given to me at the Mc Cafferty School of music at such a young age has enabled me to have a full time career as a professional classical singer, performer and recording artist. "
"I consider myself so fortunate to have been a past pupil of the Mac Cafferty school of music. James Mac Cafferty was one of the finest musicians and teachers I've ever known and had a great influence on me and my subsequent career as a musician, arranger and producer. I know Una continues the great work of the family dynasty by fostering the talents of the current generation of young Derry singers. Long may she reign!"
Frank Gallagher is a critically acclaimed record producer and arranger and musician whose credits include world reknowned artists as diverse as Dame Shirley Bassey, Charlotte Church, OperaBabes, James Galway, Ronan Keating, Celtic Tenors, Phil Coulter Paul Brady, andSinead O’Connor. He has produced award winning and multi-platinum selling records for Sony, BMG and EMI. A versatile multi-instrumentalist, Frank has recorded and performed around the world with Katie Melua, Mary Black, Bonnie Tyler, Billy Connolly, and many more. He has also composed scores for many TV programmes and contributed to several movie scores.
"I joined the MacCafferty School of Music when I was 13yrs old. My time there was absolutely amazing, and in so many different ways and on so many different levels I learnt so much. In particular, the repertoire that you get to learn and perform is music which has been hand picked for you. It consists of music from all the different shows, operas and operettas, to the art songs; english and irish, to sacred solos and oratorio works and on to the much loved and dearly thought of Moore's melodies (especially the arrangements by James MacCafferty himself!). Not only the repertoire you get but the help and guidance you are given to perform it from both your accompanist and Una is top quality. The MacCafferty School of music is also a network of support, constantly encouraging and ever wanting success for you in whatever it is you do."
"My time at the MacCafferty School of Music has given me the much nurtured foundations that I needed in what is required to take you on your musical journey through life. No matter how much you move on, you never forget the musical knowledge and values from your time there, not to mention the much loved friendships that you develop and grow into along the way. The friends that you make at your class are the friends that you will have forever, and likewise the teacher that you have there, will be your teacher forever. The MacCafferty School of Music plays a key role in my life and I know it will always continue to do so. I still consider myself to be a member of the MacCafferty School of Music today, tomorrow and always. Thank you."
"I have many fond memories of my time at The Mac Cafferty School of Music and remain deeply indebted to Mr James Mac Cafferty and Mrs Una O' Somachain. The superb teaching, guidance and support I received enabled me to go on to become lead singer in Riverdance and Lord of The Dance and travel the world, experiences that I am truly grateful. Mr Mac Cafferty is sorely missed and his legacy will live on as he was nothing less than an inspiration , a true gentlemen and kindness personified. His talent and love for music were infectious and my memories of him are deeply treasured."
"The Mac Cafferty School of Music is a place where the talent of each child is developed under the excellent tutelage of Una O’Somachain. Una’s unique and inspiring teaching style made attending her singing lessons one of the greatest experiences of my teenage years. Una instilled in me a love and appreciation for music and in particular singing and performance that has permeated my life. At the Mac Cafferty School of Music each child is instilled with confidence. Una’s expertise ensures that creativity, talent and a love for singing is nurtured in each one of her pupils."
"The Mac Cafferty School of Music was a huge part of my childhood. Every Tuesday since I was 4 years old, I attended Francis Street, St Columb's Hall and in my teen years, back to Francis Street for some serious training! Mr Mc Cafferty would have us all singing at the top of our voices around the piano. Taking us away from the open fire was the hardest part I think! I am very lucky to have been given the opprotunity as a child and as a young adult to attend lessons with James, and then Una. I appreciate now the effort, joy and love that went into each lesson. Life would be very different without the voice that I have now. I thank God every day for giving me the gift of singing and I thank the late great James and Una for helping perfect it in the way that they did. With love, Anne Marie Hickey"
"My youngest memories of the MaCafferty school of music is being in the house across the street from the Cathedral with Mr James MaCafferty and all the kids gathered round the old stand up Piano screaming and laughing, and it not bugging Mr MaCafferty at all! To me music then was just something I had fun with on Saturday morning, not realizing it was gonna be my career for the rest of my life. After that I was graced by the ever so Glamorous Una MaCafferty, where I began to my grades and learn songs for the Feis, were I performed my first concert at the age of 4 in the Rialto in Derry. MaCafferty's school of music gave me a great stepping-stone in the path I have chosen to take in life, and Very fond childhood memories. "
"The McGinley sisters fondly remember their childhood lessons at the MacCafferty School of Music. All have since become successful performers and music teachers."
"At the MacCafferty School, Derry's cultural back bone Feis Doire Colmcille was bred into them. To this day they remain committed supporters of it."
"From the moment I joined the Mc Cafferty School when I was just seven years old, I became one of Una’s little stars. She made us all feel like that, with her warm personality and boundless enthusiasm. Una inspired me with a lasting love of singing and encouraged me to fulfil my potential whilst enjoying every minute of her classes. Under Una’s influence I studied Music and drama at QUB, winning the Northern Ireland singer and RTE Lyric FM Bursary along the way. I have performed in a variety of roles, ‘Belinda’ in Purcell’s ‘Dido and Aeneas’, soloist in concert for the Lord Chief Justice in Belfast, on various occasions at Hillsborough Castle, at the VSO concerts in Dublin, at the St. Columb’s College Centenary Celebration and the William West Memorial Concerts here in Derry. I will soon be performing the role of ‘Tuptim’ in the Londonderry Musical Societies 50th Anniversary production of ‘The King and I’. I am at present studying at the RIAM in Dublin with Dr. Veronica Dunne but will always feel part of the Mac Cafferty School!."
"Since moving off to Dublin last year to study Voice at the Conservatory of Music & Drama and into the “big bad world” of the music industry, I think more and more about my time at the MaCafferty’s and of the encouragement and warmth they gave to all their students. Music has always been the main focus in my personal and family life too, with my brother Keith Harkin performing in the states as a solo artist and parents who all attended lessons with the acclaimed James MaCafferty.
The MaCafferty’s never seemed like a lesson as such, but more like visiting your aunt and uncle to sing a few tunes once a week around the piano with all your best mates and progressing along the way without even realizing. The support and encouragement I received as both a performer and music student gave me the best platform I could have asked for from the age of four till the age of 18 when Una got me ready to go off to my college auditions to further a career in music.
Now I am performing in Ireland, UK and now in America as a singer songwriter on TV, stage and radio and feel I am following in the footsteps of one of the main characters in my life so far, Una MaCafferty. Like her, I hope to continue to have music throughout my whole life and contain an honest and fulfilled approach to the arts. To Una & Ciaran, I cannot thank you both enough for the support and encouragement your school gave me and feel it is the roots of who I am as a person. It is where I met my best friends, laughed, cried, and helped realize who I am as a young person. More importantly you let me find my own way as an artist, to always believe in myself as a performer and that it is possible to make my dreams come true. Thank you The MaCafferty’s School of Music, to what you represent and what you give to the young people of Derry."