Men’s Breakfast, Saturday 18th February 2023

The guest speaker at the Men’s Breakfast on Saturday 18th February was Mr Daryl Simpson well known in Omagh as a member of the world renowned Celtic Tenors and also as the founder of the Omagh Community Youth Choir.  Daryl’s talk was essentially about his journey from school days in Omagh to operatic singer and recording artist.  Reared on the Hospital Road, he attended Gibson Primary School and Omagh Academy where his first love was sport and music his hobby.  Spotted by talent scouts he might have had a career in professional soccer had he not been hospitalised after a serious rugby injury which curtailed his participation and ambitions in sport.

Daryl Simpson [left] with John Buchanan

While a student at Queens University studying music he joined the Queens Chamber Choir and experienced what he described as a “light bulb moment” – a sudden realisation that what he wanted to be was an operatic singer.  After graduating he trained with the Royal Academy in Dublin and Glasgow Royal Scottish Academy.  This led to a contract with Zurich Opera after which he joined the Celtic tenors whose record sales now exceed 1,000,000 copies.

In 1998 following the Omagh bomb Daryl formed the Omagh Community Youth Choir to bring together young people from across the community to shine a light of hope on the future.  By virtue of their age profile the choir has a 30% turnover each year.  The Community Choir has toured extensively in the United States and also performed at Glastonbury.   During the lockdown Daryl began hosting his own music programme on YouTube, which still continues as a subscription service.   He closed his talk by singing a piece entitled “A Living Prayer” composed by one of his many friends in the music industry