Rachel's song is a winner
Singer-songwriter Rachel Grace was celebrating on Saturday night after she won the Wexford People Wexford Has Talent competition for 2018.
The talented 15-year-old sang a self-penned song titled 'Nancy', which told the story of her great grandfather and great grandmother Johnny and Nancy Reck. Johnny Reck was a talented musician who was involved with showbands in the 1950s and 1960s and the Wexford music scene for many years, working with musicians such as Larry Kirwan and Pierce Turner in the early days of their careers.
Rachel's song focused on the relationship between Johnny and his wife Nancy and how he missed her when he was on the road for work.
The song received universal praise from the duges and Ian Grey added that Rachel was one of the hardest working 15-year-olds he knew as she'd been in Wexford the previous week for rehearsals, then in Dublin the following morning for radio interviews, then busking on Grafton Street before attending the IMRO Awards!
Rachel is the daughter of Vincent Grace and Michelle Malone.
Speaking to this newspaper, Rachel said she had received lots of good wishes from her school mates and teachers at the Presentation Secondary School on Monday but, unfortunately, had also been given lots of tests to study for! She said she was still finding it hard to believe that she had won.
'When they called out my name I just thought 'No way, this can't be happening'. There were so many good acts, I didn't think I had a chance.'
Indeed, judge Ian Grey's remark about her being a busy 15-year-old was true as little more than 12 hours after her win, Rachel was in the Orchard Recording Studio in Enniscorthy, working on her first EP which will be released later this year.
In the past year, Rachel has performed all over the country and has supported artists including Wexford star Wallis Bird.
Self-taught on saxophone, banjo, bodhrán, ukelele, mandolin, piano and guitar, Rachel plans to take a year out after her Leaving Cert to concentrate on her music career:
'I'll only be 17 when I do my Leaving Cert so I think it'll be good to take a year to decide what I really want to do,' said Rachel.
The competition, she said, had been an amazing opportunity for her and it was all the sweeter winning with her own original songs.
'The first year I was too afraid to sing one of my own songs but I've become more confident in my writing since then and I sang all original songs this time.'
The two runners-up were New Ross singer Hayley Crosbie and a troupe of Irish dancers from the Sullivan Academy of Dance in Wexford town. The host for the evening was Cllr George Lawlor while the judging panel included: Catherine 'Biddy' Walsh, Carmel Corish Wallace, Sophie Wilson and Ian Grey.
Speaking about the event, Chairperson of the Sarsfield's Gaelic Football Club, and organising committee, Kilian Duignan said: 'We would like to congratulate each and every one of the finalists. The judges commented on a number of occasions on how professional and how very high the standard of talent showcased was. We would also very much like to thank our excellent host and MC Cllr George Lawlor, our brilliant judges, and our very supportive title sponsor The Wexford People.'