Wednesday 20 February 2019

Sophie comes to Wexford from USA to busk

Young busker Sophie Staples
Young busker Sophie Staples

Maria Pepper

A young girl born in Wexford and now living in America returns to her hometown every summer to visit her grandparents and also to raise money for her favourite animal charities by busking on the Main Street.

Sophie Staples (11), a grandaughter of Anne and Vince Staples of Rosslare, has been studying the classical violin since she was six years old and began playing her music on the streets at the age of seven to help animals.

The young vegetarian has busked in Ireland, New Orleans, and in Birmingham, Alabama, where she currently lives and where her mother Dr. Heidi Lynn Staples is an Assistant Professor of English and Creative Writing in the English Department at the University of Alabama.

This year, Sophie devoted six weeks of her time to intensive study with Bethany Borg, a four-times American National Fiddle Competition Champion, in order to learn ten Celtic fiddle tunes in preparation for her street appearance in Wexford this year.

From her busking efforts between 2014 and 2017, Sophie raised over €1000 for Pandas International, an American-based charity devoted to saving the Giant Panda from extinction.

For 2018 she set herself a bigger goal - ahe aims to earn to reach a target of €1,000 in one season, with all the money to be donated to The Pig Preserve in Crossville, Tennessee, a 100-acre sanctuary caring for rescued pigs of all breeds in a free-range environment which which she plans to visit with her parents on her return to the U.S. at the beginning of August.

With the help of her Wexford supporters, she has already raised over €500 of that target.

When asked whether she ever spends any of the busking money on her herself, Sophie said: 'I meet my goal for the day, and then if I have a bit extra, I might buy a new pen in the art shop or a coffee.'

Sophie was born in Wexford and her family moved back to America when she was two and a half years old, during the economic downturn. Her dad John is a former student of St. Peter's College.

Her grandmother Anne Staples is a retired chiropodist who had a practice in Henrietta Street for many years while her grandfather Vince won an All-Ireland medal for hurling.

Her grandparents currently live in Rosslare have previously resided in Piercestown.

The Staples family return to Ireland every summer with Sophie spending four to six weeks in Wexford, taking the opportunity to play her violin on the Main Street.

Despite having lived in the US for most of her life, Sophie thinks of Wexford as her home, according to her mother Heidi.

Wexford People

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