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Blind soprano Denise Leigh dazzled the Beijing Olympics - now she's coming to Northern Ireland

Singer won Channel 4's Operatunity

By Amanda Ferguson

She's come from a starring role at the Beijing Olympics to a stage in a seaside town on the east Antrim coast.

Soprano Denise Leigh has shared her talent worldwide since winning Channel 4's Operatunity competition a decade ago. This week she performs in a charity concert with her accordionist husband Stefan Andrusyschyn in Larne. The duo, who are both blind, will provide a "feast of accordion music and singing" at McNeill Theatre at Larne Leisure Centre on the Tower Road in Larne on Friday.

Hosted by East Antrim Seniors Accordion Orchestra, all proceeds will go towards Retinitis Pigmentosa (RP).

Since winning Operatunity, Denise has performed worldwide, including opening ceremonies of the Olympics in Beijing and the London Paralympics.

Stefan is a virtuoso accordionist, winning a range of titles at the UK Accordion Championships and also The International Accordion Competition for soloists in Switzerland.

Denise has recently taken up the post of Trustee for the Music of Life Foundation.

The charity helps disabled children and young adults into professional musical engagements, whether it is as a soloist, member of the chorus, or ensemble.

The Larne concert also features the Seniors Accordion Orchestra, East Antrim Juniors and double UK Polka Champion 16-year-old Jonny Wilson who is from the town.

Founded in 2006, the orchestra originally consisted of students of the highly successful East Antrim Accordion School.

For tickets contact Larne Tourist Information Centre. Doors open at 7.30pm.

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