Let the bells ring out for Christmas

BANGOR’S music lovers got in tune for the festive season thanks to a sell-out Christmas concert with the talented Ulster Orchestra, writes Julie Waters.

Last Thursday (4th) night’s show at Bangor’s Aurora Aquatic and Leisure Complex, was a hit with all the family.

Babes in arms, to grandparents alike enjoyed this lively blend of traditional carols and orchestral music that could not fail to put you in the mood for Christmas.

This hugely popular and lively sing-a-long Christmas show included  a host of  festive classics and promised to be fun for all the family.

This year’s concert was conducted by Christopher Bell, a fabulous frontman who sported a sparkly array of bow ties and waistcoats.

The show also featured soprano soloist Catriona Hewitson who wowed the audience with her beautiful voice.

Traditional and tuneful, merry and bright, the orchestra members certainly embraced the festive feel with their array of festive jumpers, hats, glasses, instruments topped in tinsel as well as flashing lights and even the harp wore a snowman hat.

There was plenty of audience participation with Christmas classics such as Walking In A Winter Wonderland, Jingle Bells,  the Skater’s Waltz and Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.

A particular favourite for our seven year old daughter was the fun-filled actions of In A Cottage In a Wood - it was hilarious to look around the packed hall and see everyone on their feet taking part - ‘rabbit paws and help me, help me’ were fabulous fun. After such a stunning performance local music enthusiasts flocked to sign the petition cards that called for the Government to make no further cuts to the arts.

Earlier this year the orchestra’s chairman George Bain warned that they face closure unless they received £500,000 in emergency funding, after reporting a loss of 28% of funding from public sources - the equivalent of £1million in the past four years.

This was a fabulous festive show and a wonderful way to introduce our little one to the beautiful experience of listening to a symphony orchestra.

At a cost of just 13 pence per person, per week to maintain the arts in Northern Ireland it would be a travesty if this musical experience were to be lost to future generations.


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