Dean’s Blog – June 23rd

Dean’s Blog – June 23rd

The first sweet peas have been flowering this week in the deanery garden.  I recall planting them when Helen went into hospital with the thought, well, we cannot move until at least the end of the summer now, and these will be an encouragement to her, and let’s not have an unnecessary year without a productive garden.

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Dean’s Blog – June 20th

Dean’s Blog – June 20th

How one reacts to ‘wake up calls’ in the course of one’s life was partially dealt with theoretically by a line or two from St Paul that we read a couple of days ago as he wrote of suffering and endurance and character and hope (Romans 5: 1-8 was the epistle reading last Sunday).

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Steeton Male Voice Choir round off Festival Music Week 2017

Steeton Male Voice Choir round off Festival Music Week 2017

The Music Festival rounded off with a concert by the Seeton Male Voice Choir, which is spending a sunny few days in Northern Ireland.  Formed in 1908 the choir visited Killarney in its centenary year and had wall-to-wall sunshine then too.  They should come to Ireland more often!

The concert was to have featured the Clare Chorale also, but in the end the audience was treated to some lovely solos and duets by its musical director mezzo soprano Sheelagh Greer and her soprano colleague Laura, beginning with Sheelagh singing (for Fathers’ Day!) Puccini’s O mio babbino caro. (more…)

An Evening with New Irish Arts proves to be a hit

An Evening with New Irish Arts proves to be a hit

Saturday night and it is Belfast Cathedral’s Music Festival Day 4 and providing a real contrast to the previous days’ concerts.  After two nights with solo recitals, a large high school choir from the USA and a popular jazz evening, we settled in last night to a classy and confident New Irish Arts Concert featuring choir and orchestra.

The setting was vital to this performance, and had been heralded beforehand as a rare opportunity to integrate instrumentalists and singers with close proximity to the audience.  So, the space had to be clear and wide and adaptable, which called for the nave of St Anne’s to be cleared and rearranged – which takes time and effort, but was worth it. (more…)

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra light up St Anne’s

Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra light up St Anne’s

The tempo was upped for the third day of the Music Festival, and its fourth concert with the arrival in St Anne’s of the fabulous Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra.  This band, under the direction of Ken Jordan is about to celebrate 25 years, but as with our choirs, there is a steady flow through of young people.  They are old friends of the Cathedral having played here on number of occasions – principally on Culture Night each September.

If the Ulster Youth Jazz Orchestra, which sets Culture Night alive in St Anne’s, was playing to a more moderate-sized audience last night, it made no difference to the verve and energy that we are accustomed to expect from so talented a bunch of young musicians – all instrumentalists, and two doubling as vocalists. (more…)

Dean’s Blog – 16th June

Dean’s Blog – 16th June

Mid June and the garden is taking on its height and thicket-like Summer look.  It is so easy to miss things that last a few days and then are gone.  But, the obvious elements of the deanery garden are its soft fruit and the herbaceous bed.  The first is going to be very productive this year with an excellent set on all bushes, being rounded off by the busy bees working the raspberries to good effect.  Helen wonders how we will cope with such largesse in the weeks when we are busy with the move.  We shall see. (more…)

From Ohio to Belfast – Belfast Cathedral Music Festival Day Two (Part One)

From Ohio to Belfast – Belfast Cathedral Music Festival Day Two (Part One)

Day two of the 2017 Belfast Cathedral Music Festival saw male voices from both sides of the Atlantic perform at St Anne’s. As the Dean reports – it was a fantastic celebration of music

Belfast Cathedral welcomed the Elder High School Glee Club Choir from Cincinnati, Ohio U.S.A. to sing a lunchtime concert on Wednesday 14th June.  The choir is all male, as is the school; the pupils all aged between 15 and 18.  They brought many supporters with them which helped amass an audience of some 300.  They sang for three quarters of an hour covering American gospel music and spirituals as well as folk music, and in strange contrast, an up-beat ‘Luck be a Lady tonight’ the song written by Frank Loesser in 1950 as part of the musical Guys and Dolls. (more…)