A NEW trophy which underscores Larne’s rich musical heritage and community spirit has been specially commissioned for the 2012 Larne Musical Festival, which begins on Thursday, May 3.
The Rita McLaughlin (Crossey-O’Boyle) Trophy is one of a number of new awards which were unveiled at the festival launch in the grounds of Glenarm Castle on Saturday evening.
The Rotary Club of Larne donated the beautiful trophy in memory of Rita Crossey-O’Boyle (later Rita McLaughlin), who was born in 1912 and was a well known and much loved teacher of music. She conducted Larne Choral Society for many years, also Glenlough Ladies Choir and Larne Male Voice Choir. She died in 1997.
Having been invited by musical festival president Patricia McNeill to sponsor a prize in the new woodwind section, the Rotarians agreed to present a cup and £50 prize money, as well as giving assistance to steward the annual gala concert.
In the meantime, Patricia learned from Rotarian Herbie Francis that he had come across a first-place medal which had been awarded to Rita Crossey-O’Boyle at Belfast Musical Festival in 1937. Herbie had spotted the medal in Main Street antiques shop Cobwebs and the proprietor, Robert Knox, gifted it for use in a Larne Festival-Rotary Club trophy.
Brian Thompson carved in wood a trophy incorporating musical clefs, Rita’s medal and the Rotary disc medal. This trophy has now been presented by Larne Rotary Club convenor Mabel Richmond to the festival president in the presence of Rotary Club president Jim McCurdy, Brian Thompson, Robert Knox and Herbie Francis.
Patricia’s brother, Ian Beattie, who now lives in Bristol, readily agreed to present a trophy to be presented to the winner of the new brass section. Ian started playing the bugle in Larne Boys’ Brigade at the age of nine, before progressing to the flugal horn and trumpet.
The Larne Times Silver Cup was presented in the 1930s by a former editor, TL Price, who was a founder member and supporter of the early festival. The Larne Times has agreed to sponsor a £50 prize to go with this trophy, to be presented at the prize winners’ gala concert to the person or persons who, in the opinion of the committee and adjudicators, have provided the most outstanding performance in the senior classes.
A new trophy and £50 prize donated by First Trust Bank will be awarded for the most pleasing junior section performance.
The festival will commence next Thursday at 10.30am with pianoforte classes, for which the adjudicator is Noel Williamson. On Friday, May 4 choral classes will commence at 10am and the adjudicator is Billy Cairns. String classes begin on Saturday 5 at 9.30am and the brass and woodwind classes commence at 2pm. The adjudicator for these three classes will be Robin Hewitt.
The gala concert will take place on Saturday, May 5 at 6.30pm in First Larne Presbyterian Church Hall, where the festival is held each year, thanks to the kind permission of the Kirk and Session of the Church. Concert admission is by donation and this year all donations will go to Roddensvale Special School, towards music therapy.
The concert, compèred by Archy McNeill, will end with singing by the Harlandic Male Voice Choir, in this special year when the Titanic is remembered.
The three-day festival is a very happy event, held in the first weekend of May. Admission each day is by donation and all competitors are given a constructive adjudication by accomplished, experienced and dedicated musicians. The festival would not be able to continue without generous financial aid from Larne Borough Council and this year finance from Haldane Fisher, Larne.
“Please support this local Larne Music Festival and give the youth of Larne and further afield the chance to compete and gain experience of performing to a most receptive and friendly audience,” Patricia McNeill urged.