Music in the air at annual festival

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LARNE Musical Festival was held recently in First Larne Presbyterian Church Hall, by kind permission of the Kirk and Session.

The festival was held over three days and was well attended by Larne residents as well as family and friends of competitors from Ballymena, Ballyclare, Broughshane, Carrickfergus, Glengormley, Straid and Lisburn.

Pianoforte classes were held on Thursday, May 5 with Noel Williamson as the adjudicator. Choirs and soloists competed in choral classes the next day, with Billy Cairns as adjudicator. On Saturday 7, Robin Hewitt adjudicated the string classes.

The continued success of the festival, now in its twelfth year since it was revived, was commented on by all the adjudicators who agreed that the general standard of entries was high. Many visitors and teachers commented on the friendly atmosphere and the helpful attitude of the committee.

Festival patron, Viscountess Aurora Dunluce, attended the classes on Thursday and presented prizes to the winners.

Festival sponsors were Larne Borough Council and AES Ballylumford, without whose financial assistance the Festival could not function.

On the Saturday evening, in First Larne Church Hall, a wonderful youth concert featuring the talents of some prizewinners from the 2010 and 2011 festivals was appreciated by an audience of some 250 people.

Committee member Archy McNeill humorously compèred the concert, which was attended by special guests of the committee from various residential homes in Larne.

Gratitude to all competitors, teachers, parents and sponsors was expressed by festival chairman Richard Barnes, who presented a cheque for £620, proceeds from the concert, to Iris Hagan, local representative for the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, who thanked all for their generosity.

Patricia McNeill, president of the festival, paid tribute to the committee who voluntarily organise and work together to enable local musical talent to compete in the Larne Festival which, this year, was attended by more than 1,200 people. She thanked Viscountess Dunluce for her continuing support and the audience, without whom performances would lack the appreciation so well deserved.

Full results and picture special in this week’s paper.