Musical festival hits all the right notes

Rachel Weir was the winner of the Johnston Cup for 18 Years and Under Solo Singing at Larne Music Festival. With her is her mum Christine. INLT 19-373-PR
Rachel Weir was the winner of the Johnston Cup for 18 Years and Under Solo Singing at Larne Music Festival. With her is her mum Christine. INLT 19-373-PR

Larne Music Festival was held 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 each day by Larne residents as well as family and friends of the competitors. This was another most successful festival where the committee were delighted to have competitors coming from the Borough of Larne, as well as from Ballymena, Ballyclare, Broughshane and Carrickfergus.

On Thursday, May 3, the pianoforte classes were held with Noel Williamson as the adjudicator.

Choirs and soloists competed in choral classes on Friday, May 4 with Billy Cairns OBE as adjudicator. On Saturday, May 5 the string, brass and woodwind classes were held where the adjudicator was Robin Hewitt. These latter two classes were new to the festival this year and entries and the standard in each class were good.

The continued success of the festival, now in its 13th year since it was revived in 1999, by the work of John Dooris and others still active in the committee, was commented on by all the adjudicators who agreed that the general standard of entries was high in each of the five classes. Many visitors and teachers commented on the friendly atmosphere and the helpful attitude of the committee.

Patron of Larne Musical Festival, Viscountess Aurora Dunluce, attended the classes on Friday morning and presented prizes to the winners. The sponsors for the festival were Larne Borough Council and Haldane Fisher without whose financial assistance this festival could not function. New trophies, cash donations and prizes came from the Viscount and Viscountess Dunluce, Mr and Mrs William Apsley, Mr and Mrs Tom Apsley, First Trust Bank, Larne Rotary Club, the Larne Times, Mr Ian Beattie, Mr and Mrs Arthur Tinsley and Mr and Mrs William McNeill.

On Saturday evening, in First Larne Church hall a gala concert, featuring the talents of some prizewinners was appreciated by an audience of some 200 persons. Committee member Archy McNeill humorously compèred the concert, whilst another committee member, Thomasena Hall sang a solo. This concert was attended by special guests of the committee who came from various residential homes in Larne. Also present were Peter McNeill, manager of Larne First Trust Bank and Jim McCurdy, president Larne Rotary Club, both of whom had presented new trophies to the festival. The Rotary president and members Mabel Richmond and Herbie Francis kindly escorted the special guests to their seats. Thanks to all competitors, teachers, parents, sponsors and especially the festival secretary, Ann Tinsley, was expressed by the festival chairman Richard Barnes.

Patricia McNeill, festival president, paid tribute to the committee who voluntarily organise and work together to enable local musical talent to compete in the event. She thanked patron, the Viscountess Dunluce, for her continuing support and to the audience without whom performances from local musical talent would lack the appreciation so well deserved. She then presented a cheque for £315, proceeds from concert, to Mrs Howie, representative from Roddensvale School. This money will be used to fund music therapy in the school.

The concert ended with the singing of the Harlandic Male Voice Choir, conducted by John Lyttle. Incidentally, this choir, founded in Harland and Wolff’s shipyard in 1944, sang in the 1940’s in Larne Musical Festival winning first prize. The poignant singing of “Nearer my God to Thee”, in this centenary year of the sinking of the Titanic, was feelingly rendered in a well-balanced performance from the choir, some five of whom come from Larne. Other pieces enabled the audience to join in the singing and ended a most enjoyable musical evening for all who attended.


Pianoforte section, adjudicator: Noel Williamson

Beginners- under one year’s tuition: Hannah Shaw.

Pianoforte solo, Initial /Prep grade: Sally Robinson.

Pianoforte solo, Grade 1: Francis McCambridge, Winner of Richard Barnes Junior Cup.

Pianoforte solo, Grade 2: Darren McDonagh, winner of Milliken Cup.

Pianoforte solo Grade 3: Lucy McCluskey, winner of Marie Barnes Cup.

Pianoforte solo, 10 years and under: Adam Smith.

Pianoforte solo, Grade 4: Samuel Holst, winner of Festival Cup.

Pianoforte duet, 12 years and under: Aisling and Christina McCambridge.

Pianoforte solo, 11-14 years: Katie McCluskey.

Pianoforte solo, Grade 5: Conn Thornton, winner of Megan Cooper Cup.

Pianoforte solo, 15-18 years: Joint winners Andrea and Michaela Mulvenna.

Pianoforte duet, 15 years and under: Katie and Lucy McCluskey.

Pianoforte solo Grade 6: Alex Mutch Winner of Richard Barnes Cup

Pianoforte duet 16 years and over: Aoife Thornton and Aisling Madden

Pianoforte solo, Grade 7: Aisling Madden, winner of Thomas Holding Cup

Robert Farren Trophy, for the best overall pianoforte performance and £50 festival award: Conn Thornton

Choral Section, adjudicator: William Cairns OBE

Primary School instrumental group: Moyle Primary School, winners of Plata Cup.

Small Primary School choirs: Glynn Primary School, winners of Larne Concert Choir Cup

Primary School choirs Key Stage 1: Glynn Primary School, winners of Murray Cup.

Primary School choirs Key Stage 2: Moyle Primary School, winners of Bronze Trophy

Primary School hymn singing: Moyle Primary School, winners of Wilson McCallion Memorial Cup.

Special Needs Schools: Roddensvale School, winners of Ethel McConkey Memorial Cup.

Boys’ and Girls’ solo - 8 years and under: Daniel Hill, winner of Arthur Tinsley Cup.

Boys’ and Girls’ Solo - 11 years and under: Katie Hill, winner of Johnston Family Cup.

Special Schools - Thornfield House, winners of Captain CJ Brennan Cup.

Grammar/ Secondary Schools choirs - 15 years and under: Larne Grammar School junior choir, winners of Alex Meekin Cup – this was not presented- a certificate only was given.

Secondary/ Grammar School choirs under 19 years: Carrickfergus College Choir, winners of Countess of Antrim Cup

Boys’ and Girls’ Solo - 14 years and under: Katy Tweed, winner of Festival Cup.

Boys’ and Girls’ Solo - 18 years and under: Rachel Weir, winner of Bob Gilpin Memorial Cup.

Duet Singing for Secondary / Grammar Schools - Melanie Hamilton and Katy Tweed, winners of Festival Cup.

Songs from the Shows - 14 years and under: Megan McIlwaine, winner of Songs from the Shows (14 and under) Festival Cup

Songs from the Shows - 18 years and under: Erin Warke, winner of Songs from the Shows (18 and under) Festival Cup

Millennium Trophy for the overall best mark in choral classes and £150 festival award: Carrickfergus College

Festival Award of £50 to top soloist: Erin Warke.

Strings Section, adjudicator: Robin Hewitt.

Violin / viola 9 years and under: Kaden Patterson.

Violin / viola 10 and 11 years: Eva Hayward.

Violin / viola 12 and 13 years: Thomas McKenna.

String duo, trio or quartet 12 years and under: Thomas and Eamon McKenna, winners of Festival Cup

Cello / double Bass: Caolin Olphert.

Violin / viola 14 and 15 years: Laura O’Boyle.

Cello / double bass 16 years and over: Eva Richards.

String duo, trio and quartet over 12 years: Ballymena Academy.

Beattie Memorial Trophy for the best string player and £50 festival award: Eva Richards.

Kerr Trophy for the best violin / viola player: Eva Hayward.

Apsley Cup for the best cello / double bass player: Eva Richards.

Preece Trophy for the best string duo: Eamon and Thomas McKenna.

Woodwind section, adjudicator: Robin Hewitt.

Recorder Primary 5: Jamie Clements.

Recorder Primary 6: Sophie Jones.

Recorder Group: Moyle Primary School, winners of Festival Cup.

Woodwind 11 years and under: Kaitlyn Boyd.

Woodwind 12-15 years: Michaela Mulvenna.

Woodwind 16-18 years: Kim Hamilton.

Woodwind Ensemble 12-18 years: Michaela Mulvenna, Andrea Mulvenna and Rachel O’Boyle, winners of Festival Cup.

Rita McLoughlin (Crossey-O’Boyle) Rotary Trophy for the best woodwind player and £50: Kim Hamilton

Brass Section, adjudicator: Robin Hewitt.

Brass 11 years and under: Katie Hill.

Brass 12-15 years: Sam Brodison.

Ian Beattie Trophy and £50 festival award for the best brass player: Sam Brodison.

Open Class Section, adjudicator: Robin Hewitt.

Open Ensemble Class: Latharna Accordian, group winners of Festival Cup.

Open Performance Class: Ryan Davison.

Most pleasing performance junior award -First Trust Bank Trophy and £50: Caoilfhinn McLoughlin.

Most outstanding performance senior award - Larne Times Trophy and £50: Sam Brodison

Both the above awards were presented at the gala concert, and were judged by the adjudicators and the festival committee.