Plans are under way to give a free musical instrument and tuition to every child in Londonderry during its inaugural year as UK City of Culture.
It is hoped the initiative — the first of its kind anywhere in the world — will build on Derry’s reputation as a city of music.
The pioneering project will see up to 9,000 children under the age of 13 getting the chance to perfect a musical talent.
The Children’s Music Promise will be the largest project rolled out during 2013 and will include the chance for children to showcase their work.
Garbhan Downey, director of marketing and communications, said the project had already attracted international attention.
He said: “We are already getting a lot of interest as a model of excellence on how to teach children music and it is being looked at by everybody.
“It could change the way music is taught in the curriculum.”
Among the five to six major concerts taking place in 2013 will be a Sons and Daughters opening event featuring many of the city’s famous musicians and their high-profile friends from the industry.
The concert looks set to be staged at the Ebrington former military barracks parade ground which is on schedule to open in January with a 15,000 capacity.
Plans are also under way at the 26-acre site for a cafe/bar/restaurant complex with outdoor seating and an amphitheatre, while the large clock tower (former soldiers’ quarters) building is expected to be revamped to become an art gallery and exhibition space where the Turner Prize will be held.
In the following years this building is expected to be expanded with a glass extension to the rear.
Other projects so far confirmed for 2013 include a historical digital archive, which will involve communities across Londonderry telling the history of their area to contribute towards an archive together with old photographs and film footage. This will then tour schools and communities.
In early 2012 the judges who chose Derry as UK City of Culture over Birmingham, Sheffield and Norwich, which included TV producer Phil Redmond and presenter Lauren Laverne, will be arriving to inspect progress while announcing details of the next City of Culture competition.
Meanwhile, next April, when the entrant in the Clipper Round the World Yacht race arrives in San Francisco, among those who may represent the city in the celebrations are Touched By An Angel actress Roma Downey, pop singer Nadine Coyle and Glee and Celtic Thunder star Damian McGinty.