Annual festival launches delightful musical treat

President of the Larne Music Festival Patrica McNeill presents flowers to Vicountess Dunluce Lady Aurora at the launch of the 2011 Larne Music Festival at Glenarm Castle. INLT 18-024-PSB
President of the Larne Music Festival Patrica McNeill presents flowers to Vicountess Dunluce Lady Aurora at the launch of the 2011 Larne Music Festival at Glenarm Castle. INLT 18-024-PSB

LARNE Musical Festival begins today (Thursday) and the voluntary committee which organises the annual event encouraged everyone to show their support by attending sessions over the next three days.

“Please come and support your local festival,” they urged. “A friendly atmosphere awaits all who attend and the audience will hear some very talented young performers, with adjudications given by experienced professional musicians.”

All competitions are held in the Memorial Hall at First Larne Presbyterian Church, starting at 10am daily. Admission is free, but donations to help defray costs are much appreciated.

Today’s classes are pianoforte, with choral singing tomorrow and string classes on Saturday.

The closing festival concert takes place in the Memorial Hall on Saturday evening at 6.30pm and features festival prize winners. Admission is by donation and all proceeds will go to the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice.

The launch of the festival was held on Saturday in the walled garden of Glenarm Castle by kind permission of the Viscount and Viscountess Dunluce. This was the first time that the Friends of Larne Music Festival had met since the inauguration of this scheme last November and it was appropriate that the festival patron, Aurora the Viscountess Dunluce, was present along with her husband and some friends.

The Antrim family has had long connections with the festival, dating back to the early 1920’s when Lady Margaret was president and her husband, the Earl of Antrim was vice-chairman of the festival association. Lady Angela followed on as president of this organisation which at that time comprised Larne Drama Festival, the Irish Dancing Festival and Larne Musical Festival.

The Mayor of Larne, Andy Wilson and his wife Caroline were present at the launch with this year’s festival adjudicators Noel Williamson, Billy Cairns and Robin Hewitt.

Vice-chairman Harry Allen welcomed all to the evening, where the Richards String Quartet provided a lovely choice of music to entertain guests sitting out in the evening sunshine or walking around the gardens, bedecked with a fantastic range of tulips for the Glenarm Castle Tulip Festival. He thanked Larne Borough Council and AES Ballylumford for generously sponsoring Larne Musical Festival.

Festival president Patricia McNeill thanked the secretary Ann Tinsley. for having the idea of Friends of the Festival and hoped that all would continue to support this festival which encourages the musical talent of the area to perform to an appreciative audience, where they are given a constructive criticism by experienced professional musicians.

In appreciation, she then presented the festival patron Aurora, Viscountess Dunluce with a basket of flowers. Secretary Ann Tinsley had a surprise in store for Billy Cairns and his wife - celebrating their golden wedding anniversary - when she gave them a golden spray of roses.

Visit the new website www.larnemusicalfestival.org for more information on this year’s festival.