73rd Annual Concert in Dalraida

Alex Gillen Retirement
Alex Gillen Retirement

The Local Male Voice choir once more will bring an evening of long tradition of music and song in their 73rd Annual Concert on Saturday, April 1 at 7.30pm.

The Concert in the John Armstrong Hall of Dalriada School, Ballymoney, affords an opportunity for the Choir to demonstrate their enjoyment of four part harmony singing under the leadership of one of the best and well known Conductors in the North Mrs Margaret Brown of Ballycastle. She is an accomplished Teacher of music, an organist and pianist and conducts several other Choirs in the district including the well known Route Singers. Equally renowned is the choir accompanist is Amanda Doak, from Coleraine who also accompanies many other Choirs as well as Teaching Music, both piano and singing in the North Antrim and County Derry district

The Choir’s tradition of Male Voice Singing stretches back to the First Annual Concert in 1943, then under the Conductorship of the late Mr Jim Moore, so well remembered to this present day the standards he set, continue to be proudly honoured by the choir and their Conductor and accompanist today.

The concert this year will feature many favourites of both Choir and Audience and the latter provide a further encouragement to the Choir to produce such a high standard of singing.

In the Concert this year the programme will include “Calon Lan” together with “The Lord’s Prayer“ in an arrangement by Alec Gillen, the Choir’s previous conductor for 23 years. The climax for the choir will be the “African Prayer – Nkosi Sikelel Iafrika”, sung in part in the African Native language. This last piece is a recognition by the choir of the work taking place by the local First Presbyterian Church to fund the building of a school in Zimbabwe and in fact the choir intends to donate all profits this year from the Concert to that project in Africa.

As well as the Choir there will be solo items from a visiting guest singer and this year the Concert will feature the lovely up and coming Mezzo-soprano, Laura McFall originally from Magherafelt. She has become well known locally in her performances in “Voice and Verse “ with her accompanist Kristine Donnan. Laura is a graduate of the University of Ulster in Music and has since performed throughout Ulster, the UK and Europe. She also gives recitals to people who do not normally have access to live music through the Charity “Live Music Now”. In the forthcoming Autumn she will be starting in the vocal Masters Course at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

Her accompanist , Kristine Donnan is Organist and ChoirMaster at St. Bartholemews , Stranmillis. She has worked as an accompanist with N.I. Opera, Belfast Philarmonic Choir, Methodist College and has been Repetiteur for the early music company, Sestina.

In addition this year the concert will feature a wonderfull accomplished young Flautist, just aged 14 years, a pupil of Cambridge House in Ballymena, who has created a stir with his musicality in Festivals and Concert performances throughout the North. He is Jake Houston and will perform several pieces including Faure, Phil Coulter and Vitorrio Monti.

Tickets for the Concert are £10 and are available from choir members or at R.H. Gaut’s shop in Church Street in Ballymoney.