Celebrating Ten Years of North Belfast Lantern Parade!

One of the biggest annual Autumn events in the city reaches a decade!

The 10th North Belfast Lantern Parade celebrations take place on 29 and 30 October with a range of exciting activities being laid on for the local community and beyond.

Lead by Ashton and delivery by New Lodge Arts, all are welcome to the two packed days of family-friendly workshops, activities and events at Alexandra Park. This of course all culminates with the hotly-anticipated Lantern Parade at 5pm on Weds 30 October, which makes its way from Girdwood Community Hub to Alexandra Park for the epic Grand Finale!

Activities taking place on Day 1 (Tues 29 Oct) of the festivities include Circus Performance, Lantern Making, Live Music, Arts and Crafts and Storytelling! Then at 6pm, audiences are invited to wrap up, then roll up for a special outdoor screening of The Greatest Showman.

Day 2 (Weds 30 Oct), begins with even more Circus, Lantern Making and Music, plus Visual Arts and Science experiments! Then the main event, as the colourful Lantern Parade sets off from Girdwood, with participants invited to bring their own lanterns and costumes and join in the longest-running and most exciting Halloween Community Event in Belfast! The Parade eventually makes its way down to Alexandra Park for the action-packed main event featuring death defying circus skills, live music, dance, a fireworks display. PLUS a very special headline performance by Little Mix Magic!

All of this is being laid on at a specially reduced price, with entrance to all Alexandra Park Events just £2.

Paul Roberts, CEO of Ashton said that audiences could expect an “extra special” experience for the Parade’s 10th Anniversary Celebrations:

‘We are delighted to celebrate 10 years of the Lantern Parade this month with a jammed packed programme of activities for all the family.  The Lantern Parade is part of the annual calendar for the North Belfast community and this year’s event promises to be an extra special experience for everyone attending.’

25,000 free books delivered to schools across Northern Ireland

Every primary one child across Northern Ireland is set to receive a free Time to Read pack this Autumn. The delivery comes as BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, commences the latest in its Arts Council of Northern Ireland school author tour series, this time with Marta Altés, author and illustrator of ‘Little Monkey’ starting from Monday 14th October.

The Time to Read packs which include a free copy of the book ‘Little Monkey’ and tips and advice for parents and carers, will be distributed to all 25,000 primary one children to take home and share with their families. With the help of The Education Authority Schools Library Service all schools will receive the packs at the beginning of the Autumn term.

To help celebrate the book distribution, the schools author tour supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland will see Marta visit four schools over the course of two days to run reading and craft workshops, designed to inspire, engage and help to create the authors and illustrators of the future.

The schools involved include – St Joseph’s Primary School Carryduff, Millennium Integrated Primary School, Saintfield, Moorfields Primary School, Ballymena and Parkhall Primary School, Antrim.

Marta Altés, author and illustrator of ‘Little Monkey’ said“One of my favourite parts about my work is getting to visit the children and watch their creativity grow! It’s incredible that my book will be in so many homes around Northern Ireland, and I hope that Little Monkey and her adventures in the jungle not only inspire a love of reading but also remind children that even when you’re small you can do amazing things!”

Liz Canning, BookTrust Northern Ireland says
 “Marta Altés’ two day visit is the first in a series of author visits planned for this year, with more schools across Northern Ireland set to benefit from scheme over the coming months. The BookTrust programme is support through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland’s National Lottery funds, which this year celebrates its 25th anniversary since the first draw in 1994.

Damian Smyth, Head of Literature and Drama, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, commented: “This wonderful initiative is all about inspiring a future generation of readers to enjoy reading from their earliest years, as they set off on their own journeys discovering new characters, places, stories and ideas. Access to books is something which we know supports all aspects of a child’s development and we are delighted to continue our funding for BookTrust’s author tours once again this year, with a copy of Marta Altés stunning book also going out to every primary one child in Northern Ireland.”

Ballyholme Yacht Club sets sail with Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover for Icebreaker series

One of the biggest dinghy sailing events in Ireland started in Bangor last month with the launch of the Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover Icebreaker Series at Ballyholme Yacht Club

Around 100 competitors are expected to sail in the challenging series throughout the winter season, in fleets ranging from Toppers and Lasers to high performance boats such as the RS200 and multi-hulls.

The first race in the series took place on Sunday, October 6, and saw hardy sailors compete right through a fiercely contested 22 race schedule.

This is the first year Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover has sponsored the event, which was launched at Ballyholme on Friday, 27 September. The series is one of the events run by Ballyholme Yacht Club, which is marking its centenary year.

Charles Hurst is the largest and longest established dealer in Northern Ireland for the quality and performance Jaguar and Land Rover brands.

“We are delighted to be backing such a prestigious event, and to be working with an organisation with an outstanding track record of achievement,” said Alan Thompson, Head of Business at Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover.

“The Icebreaker is a tough and demanding competition that requires high levels of skill, stamina and ability; all of which is reflected in the wide range of vehicles created by Jaguar Land Rover.” 

Welcoming Mr Thompson to Ballyholme Yacht Club, Commodore Aidan Pounder said: “The competitors who join us for this series come from a variety of clubs and we are thrilled to have the support of Charles Hurst Jaguar Land Rover to ensure that each race is a success, whatever the weather may throw at us.” 

Part of the Lookers Group, Charles Hurst is the north’s largest motor retailer, representing 20 brands across seven sites including its 20-acre Belfast headquarters, the largest automotive park in Europe.

UK & IRELAND’S LONGEST RUNNING CONSUMER FASHION EVENT TURNS GREEN

The owner of the UK and Ireland’s longest running consumer fashion event, Belfast Fashion Week, has turned the event from being a promoter of fast fashion and mass consumption, to an event focused entirely on sustainable fashion and reselling vintage and previously owned clothes.

Cathy Martin said she had a complete change of heart after being passionately taught about sustainability in fashion during a summer programme at Conde Nast College, part of British Vogue, in 2017 as well as reading Dana Thomas’ FASHIONOPOLIS book.

“I did some research and got myself educated on the pollution caused and some really unethical production practices within the fashion and textiles industries, (particularly some ‘fast fashion’ producers, but some top end design houses are guilty too – the great Burberry burn-off is a good example here.) I also woke up to our over consumption and the constant need for new. I’ve been there. I’m guilty.

“Events like our RESALE RAIL SALE, which will take place this Saturday 19 October in St Anne’s Cathedral, will help to increase awareness of the bigger issues of fashion and textiles eco-damage, and help show how reselling/buying second hand can help to balance out what’s been done and prevent further extensive damage. I’ve been selling, browsing and buying on eBay and in charity shops for over a decade, but want to help further normalise shopping second hand for fashion and provide a platform for those who want to join me.

“And it’s important to say that I still love creative design and fashion, and will still buy clothes. But I will do so more thoughtfully. I will check labels. I will purchase with the planet and long term in mind.

“I’m delighted to say that we now have over 70 resellers taking part, including vintage stores, charities like Oxfam and St Vincent de Paul as well as lots of individuals selling off their own previously loved items, so I would love to see hundreds of shoppers come along and shop sustainably with us.

“We have just this week confirmed sponsorship from HONEST Organic ® drinks, who’ll provide complimentary lemonade and lattes for everyone. And we’ll also have an honesty table with lots of goodies that visitors can help themselves to, in return for a voluntary donation.”

For those wanting a lively and free hands-on, sustainable experience at the event, there will be Stitch Up workshops running throughout the day, given by experienced creative curator, Ciaran Doran and her team.  After a warm up activity to show participants the stiches they’ll be using, the workshop will take them through a step-by-step guide to designing and hand stitching their own unique design onto a calico bag using a wealth of pre loved fabrics and trimmings. All equipment and material are provided and all attendees are encouraged to try some embroidery, share existing skills and learn some new ones.

Ciaran, who regularly works with museums and galleries in both the public and private sector, as well as libraries, charities and community groups or private collections, like the James Bond archive said: “If you have a textile item that you would like to work with, for example, a jumper, blouse or a silk scarf, we can show you how you can adapt it and re–wear with a whole new lease of life. Our workshops are fun and simple, and suitable for anyone from age 11 upwards.  Plus learning the skill of sewing and reworking fashion items means that we are being sustainable and ethical in our fashion choices, which is good for everyone – and the earth.”

It’s fair to say that over its previous twenty-eight seasons, Belfast FASHIONWEEK has always been innovative as far as consumer fashion events go. They had curvy models leading the way on the show’s runways over a decade ago, championing the early days of fashion for every size. Back in 2013 the team hosted a ‘Fashion over Fifty’ show in association with AgeUK, at which handsome 50+ male and female models modelled classic and edgy fashion with pride, way before other shows in London made this a ‘thing’; then in 2017 Cathy again championed diversity by being the first consumer catwalk to have a Downs Syndrome model take the lead on the runway. That model, Kate Grant, went on to do a global campaign for Benefit Cosmetics and a national campaign for River Island, among others.

 

Director Cathy Martin said: “So I suppose we’re no strangers to leading the way, and like our other campaigns, this is not a publicity stunt nor a fad. I think if you have a platform and a voice you should use it for good. And fashion needs to wake up and smell the pollution.”

The FASHIONWEEK RESALE RAIL SALE takes place this Saturday 19 October at St Anne’s Cathedral, Belfast, from 10am until 5pm. Entry is £3.00 Tickets available from Eventbrite here: 

https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/belfast-fashion-week-sustainable-fashion-weekend-book-a-rail-space-tickets-71152193125

 

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort Triumphs at Prestigious Global Awards

Northern Ireland’s Luxury Spa Resort Crowned Best in Northern Europe at World Luxury Hotel Awards

Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort has been crowned winner of Best Luxury Spa Resort in Northern Europe at the World Luxury Hotel Awards.

The awards, which were held in Finland, celebrate the best in world-class hotel service excellence and represent the pinnacle of achievement in the luxury hotel industry.

Over the past ten years, Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort has invested more than £50 million into its facilities and has plans for further expansion of over £15 million over the next five years. The investment has helped lead to a string of accolades for the Resort as it takes its place on the world-stage as a luxury spa destination, beating competition from some of the world’s most iconic spa retreats.

After last year’s Global Luxury Hotel Spa of the Year win, which firmly cemented Galgorm’s position as a world-leading hotel and spa resort, Galgorm continues to gain worldwide recognition for its brand and best-in-class facilities and service.

This year, Galgorm was one of eight resorts around the globe to receive the prestigious regional title and one of only three hotels in the island of Ireland to be officially recognised by the awards.

Commenting on the win, Colin Johnston, Galgorm Managing Director, said;

“We are thrilled to win Best Luxury Spa Resort for the Northern Europe region and to continue to be recognised for our sustained commitment to excellence and outstanding achievement in the international luxury hospitality industry.

The World Luxury Hotel Awards offers us a chance to showcase our unique spa facilities and wider destination offering to a global audience and cements our reputation as a world-leading spa destination. In recent years we have invested heavily in upgrading our spa facilities and providing an unrivalled customer experience and we’re delighted to add this award to our burgeoning list of accolades.”

Voted by guests, travellers and industry players alike through an online public vote, the accolade reflects the hard work and dedication exhibited by Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort’s exceptional staff and its unparalleled service offering. Attended by over 300 guests from across the globe, the awards took place at a prestigious ceremony in Rovaniemi, Finnish Lapland, on Saturday 12 October.

World Luxury Awards Marketing Director, Michael Hunter-Smith, said;

“We congratulate this year’s winners. True luxury is not easily attained. It takes highly efficient and dedicated staff who are willing to go the extra mile and stop at nothing to ensure that every guest feels cared for and no challenge goes unresolved. This is the definition of luxury. It is what makes the winners shine.”

 

Armagh Chimes Return of Georgian Spectacular

Countdown starts to Cathedral City’s Georgian Festival next month

Next month marks the triumphant return of the Cathedral City’s iconic Georgian Festival where you can revel in the riches of Armagh’s unique history, heritage and beauty.

Renowned for its stunning Georgian architecture, the historic city will thrust open its doors to celebrate this epochal bygone era and the legacy it has provided for this captivating city.

From literature to fashion and arts to food, visitors can fully immerse themselves in an authentic Georgian way of life and travel through the mists of time to this quintessential age as part of a major celebration.

Make a weekend of it as the festival encompasses a breath-taking programme of 40 unique and unmissable events for all ages and tastes, from Wednesday 27th November until Sunday 1st December.

Festival highlights include the Great Georgian Banquet at Palace Demesne where guests will step back in time to a stunning 18th Century Venetian themed evening to experience a flavour of Georgian high society.

Encounter the golden age as you enjoy a sumptuous five-course banquet evoking the menus of the time and served with a modern twist. The evening includes a Viennese Serenade with authentic Viennese songs and operetta arias sung by the Irish singer Niamh McCormack and Dublin harpist Teresa O’Donnell.

The landmark ‘Georgian Day’ on Saturday 30th November is the pinnacle of the Festival and when darkness falls, experience a light show extravaganza like no other as the family-friendly ‘A Christmas Cracker’ light show bursts to life, illuminating the backdrop of the Georgian Market House – an enchanting display and unrivalled across the island of Ireland.

Soak up the atmosphere in a vibrant city and trace your steps through Armagh’s historic core as streets buzz with reminiscent Georgian characters, street entertainment and festival market stalls hosted by traders showcasing local artisan produce and culinary delights – all against a backdrop of carol singers and horse drawn carriages echoing through the cobbled Streets.

The jubilant five-day festival is expected to attract thousands of visitors to the city where they will experience the Armagh’s fascinating heritage and culture.

The festival is proud to be part of new major tourism initiative ‘Taste the Island’, promoting food and drink events across Ireland and is kindly supported by Tourism NI.

Culture vultures, food, drink and entertainment hunters can travel hassle-free with a complimentary return bus service on Saturday 30th November, from Portadown Train Station to Armagh for Dublin and Belfast bus and rail passengers in partnership with Translink.

To see the full festival programme and secure your place on these unmissable events, visit: www.visitarmagh.com/Georgian

Cruise into Christmas with AC Hotel Belfast

Contemporary-luxe riverside hotel launches festive offering

The four-star AC Hotel Belfast, located at City Quays, has officially launched its hospitality offering for Christmas 2019, with a selection of unique dining and social packages to celebrate the festive season.

Multi-Michelin-starred chef, Jean Christophe Novelli launches his exquisite Christmas menu available from Friday 29th November at destination restaurant, Novelli at City Quays. Inspired by Mediterranean culinary techniques and harnessing local produce for an authentic taste experience, diners can enjoy a specially curated Christmas lunch or dinner in the restaurant with spectacular views of the River Lagan. Uniquely positioned on Belfast’s waterfront, guests can snuggle up with a warming digestif out in the open-air terrace and soak up the scenic river views.

AC Hotel Belfast brings a new package to the festive offering for 2019, with the launch of its private dining. Available for groups of 15 to 40, the private dining room located on the first floor offers an intimate space with stunning panoramic views, dedicated waiting staff and a mouth-watering Christmas menu.

For those looking to do something a little different to ring in the festive season, the ‘Dine & Cruise’ package will see guests enjoy the private dining experience before embarking on an hour-long festive river cruise, followed by a complementary winter warmer drink on the terrace.

If a casual setting is preferred, AC Hotel’s Christmas Socials at Novelli at City Quays restaurant, or in a private suite, are the perfect way to celebrate the festive season. Guests will enjoy a sparkling reception and feast on a grazing table bursting with delectable Christmas canapes all in the comfortable luxury of a dedicated social space.

Put the finishing touches to any celebration with a pre-ordered drinks package and choose from a wide selection of beers, wines and spirits including drinks hampers and the AC Hotel Belfast’s special take on the traditional bucket of beer. For something really unique, take a table on the terrace for a hot drinks reception with blankets, mitts and scarves available for those frosty evenings!

To find out more about the Christmas hospitality available at AC Hotel Belfast this year, visit www.novellirestaurants.co.uk/belfast/occasions/ or call 028 9531 3180.

Spooktacular family fun set for Belfast Monster Mash

Belfast’s spooktacular Monster Mash returns to the Titanic Slipways on Sunday 27 October, offering frighteningly good fun for all the family to enjoy.

Themed on the Mexican Day of the Dead festival and Diwali Festival of Lights, the event is free to attend with a fantastic evening of Halloween entertainment planned from 4pm to 7pm ahead of the city’s biggest fireworks display.

Launching the event on the Titanic Slipways, Lord Mayor of Belfast, Councillor John Finucane said: “Our Monster Mash is undoubtedly one of the highlights of our events calendar with thousands of people attending each year. This year’s celebrations promise to be bigger and better than ever with a spooky night of fun for all the family to enjoy.

“The Slipways will be thronged with ghosts and ghouls, street theatre, spooky dance acts, funky art workshops and much more. You certainly won’t find a more spectacular firework display anywhere to finish off the night – and it’s all for free!

 

Visitors on the evening can look forward to Diwali inspired performances from the South Asian Dance Academy, specially choreographed routines from local Irish Dance group Celtic Fusion, illuminating drum performances by Spark, Day of the Dead Folk dances, slime and lantern making workshops, a monster fairground with rides for all ages as well as live music from Green Means Go.

Media partners Q Radio, will also be on hand with their newly appointed breakfast duo Ryan A and Jordan onstage giving away spot prizes, blasting out some classic tunes and setting the scene for a monster night of Halloween Fun.

Getting to and from the event couldn’t be easier with the option of the ghostly Glider departing from the city centre or hopping aboard the train and getting off at the Titanic Halt nearby. For more information on public transport please visit www.translink.co.uk.

For those travelling by car, car parking is available at the Belfast Met, Titanic Belfast or Odyssey Car Park. There is also the option of the new NCP multi-storey carpark in Corporation Street, a short walk to the main site over the Queen’s Bridge and along the river. Parking is not permitted on Queens Road due to the fireworks display.

 

 

 

Galgorm Collection Unveils Templepatrick Hotel Development Plans

£7m transformation includes brand new restaurant & bar, stylish accommodation and bespoke wedding offering

Galgorm Collection today unveiled detailed internal and external transformational plans for their Templepatrick development, which it acquired earlier this year for £7 million.

Work on the multi-million-pound redevelopment, which will create a workforce of around 100 employees when complete, starts this week with a grand opening launch planned for next year.

All 24 guestrooms will be replaced and upgraded within the iconic property as part of the schedule, bringing a dynamic new look and feel. A brand new and expansive bar and restaurant, Hunters Bar & Grill, will also take centre stage on the ground floor and will be open to guests and walk-in visitors when it opens in March.

The hotel’s extensive conference and banqueting facilities are a key focus of the planned investment and will be a defining feature of the new hotel. A stunning new wedding event and function room – The Loft – is expected to be a major draw for bookings into 2020 and beyond.

Located in the heart of the picturesque village of Templepatrick, Co Antrim, the hotel is located only 15 minutes from Belfast City Centre and is just a 10-minute drive from Belfast International Airport.

Galgorm Collection Managing Director Colin Johnston said:

“With plans agreed and contractors in place, we’re incredibly excited to share our plans which will dramatically enhance this unique property, ensuring that its future as a premium, stylish boutique hotel is secured for a new generation of discerning visitors and travellers.

 It’s our shared mission to ensure that this development is firmly on the local, national and international map and continues to be a great place to stay, relax and work.

Stunning new rooms and the addition of an outstanding restaurant and bar will fully complement a compelling new wedding brand which is backed by years of expertise and exceptional service – our ‘Love in the Loft’ wedding packages are already available to book now and we look forward to welcoming our first wedding guests over the spring and summer.” 

The purchase of the hotel in Templepatrick adds to Galgorm’s already impressive suite of hospitality investments this year. A £3 million investment is underway at Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort with the development of 17 cottage suites, refurbishment of the popular Gillies Bar, upgrade to 23 standard guestrooms, spa developments and a conservatory at Castle Kitchen & Bar at Galgorm Castle. In Belfast there has been a £100,000 investment at Café Parisien with its Grey Goose Terrace, due to open later this month.

Galgorm are renowned for creating world-class hospitality experiences throughout their award-winning properties in Northern Ireland and their stellar reputation was bolstered last month with Galgorm Spa & Golf Resort being awarded the Four AA Red Star Award for excellence in quality and hospitality, in addition to the property currently holding the title of Global Luxury Spa Hotel of the Year .

Bushmills Irish Whiskey To Bring The Flavours Of Single Malt To Supper

Bushmills Irish Whiskey is hosting Northern Ireland’s first Single Malts Supper Club this month on Thursday 24th October, alongside celebrated Northern Irish chef, Will Brown at Comber-based Irish artisan delicatessen, Indie Füde.
Inspired by the unique tasting notes of the award-winning Bushmills Single Malt whiskeys, which are made in entirety at the Old Bushmills Distillery from 100% malt barley, the exclusive supper club will highlight the very best in Northern Irish flavour.
Showcasing the award-winning 10, 16 and 21 Year Old Bushmills Single Malts, attendees will enjoy an intimate and in-depth tasting of the range, led by the Bushmills Brand Ambassador, while the chef curates a bespoke four course supper to expertly complement the whiskeys’ distinct characteristics.
Known for his dedication to sourcing locally and love for foraging freshly grown, seasonal produce, Will has taken inspiration from the whiskeys to create an indulgent and imaginative menu. From whiskey-cured Glenarm Salmon with foraged coastal greens to a whiskey and chocolate crémeux with malt ice cream and caramel, each course will tell a local story, perfectly designed to delight taste-buds.
To view the Bushmills Single Malts Supper Club menu and to purchase tickets, visit indiefude.com/events. Tickets are available on a first come first serve basis priced at £42.50,  and include an in-depth Bushmills whiskey tasting, a four course supper and three complimentary full size whiskey drinks.

Igniting the ENGINE with Tinderbox Theatre Company

Following from the huge successes of Ubu the King, Natural Disaster and ZeBBie nominated The Man Who Fell to Pieces,Tinderbox Theatre Company is delighted to present ENGINE, a two-week ambitious programme of artist training, performances and inspiring pedagogical discussions with international company Manifesto Poetico, at the Brian Friel Theatre, in conjunction with Queens University Belfast.

ENGINE proposes to ignite the passion, agility and ambition of artists living in Northern Ireland, through the creative brilliance and research composed by Manifesto Poetico, to celebrate our individuality and explore and create theatre for today and tomorrow. Since 2016, Tinderbox has created space for artists of all disciplines to explore their unique creativity through Play Machine, Take Away Theatre and the IN8 programme, and this year we are delighted to embark on our international adventure with the ingenuity and brilliance of Manifesto Poetico.

Manifesto Poetico makes theatre where the abstraction of space, spirit of imagination, and essence of the collective are the basis of storytelling and emotional communication: “We are honoured and excited to have been invited by Tinderbox Theatre Company to come meet, engage and create with the Belfast artistic community the second part of The Epic Borders Trilogy: Belfast 1919. It is a great privilege to be welcomed into the lives and stories of a community. We look forward to the poetry we together will weave and the celebration of the local reality that we will share.” Directors Carlos García Estévez and Paige Allerton come directly from Guadalajara, Mexico where they premiered part one of The Epic Borders Trilogy, The Gate of Hope, Sunday 22nd of September.

The Engine Programme is funded by Arts Council of Northern Ireland. Caoileann Curry-Thompson, Arts Development Officer for Drama and Dance, Arts Council of Northern Ireland said,

“The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is proud to support Tinderbox as one of three theatre companies taking part in the Epic Borders Trilogy, an initiative of cutting-edge, international organisation, Manifesto Poetico. This project is especially exciting given the quality and singularity of the participants: Tinderbox is one of our most dynamic theatre companies at the vanguard of contemporary practice, and the cast which it has brought together testifies to the excellent calibre of artists we have in NI. With its innovation and experimentalism, Manifesto Poetico is the perfect partner for this creative talent. We cannot wait to see how our artists respond and develop, and to see what creations – thought-provoking and visceral, no doubt – they will make together.”

ENGINE will run from 30th September to the 11th October with a performance of Belfast 1919 on the 11th October at 7.30pm. Manifesto Poetico will also perform Solo Dell’Arte and Good Boy at the Brian Friel Theatre 12th October at 7.30pm

Further information, please visit www.tinderbox.org.uk or for tickets visit https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/engine-epic-borders-tickets-73971991217

Live classical music for little listeners at The Crescent Arts Centre

Pictured at the launch concert is soprano, Laura McFall, mum Ciara Burnell with baby Lucy Burnell-McAleavey, Roisin McDonough, Arts Council of Northern Ireland with baby Aoife McDonough-Brown and pianist, Kristine Donnan.

Belfast Music Society (BMS), promoter of live classical chamber music, has launched Chamber Cherubs, a new series of live classical music concerts for pre-school children, aged 1-3 years, in partnership with The Crescent Arts Centre, supported by National Lottery funding through the Arts Council of Northern Ireland.

Chamber Cherubs follows on from a similar venture, Chamber Babies, established by BMS in 2014, designed to offer the best live classical music to the youngest listeners aged 0-18 months (and their parents too of course!). The new programme was launched at a concert at the Crescent Arts Centre recently featuring soprano, Laura McFall and pianist, Kristine Donnan.  

All Chamber Cherubs concerts are performed by professional classical musicians from Northern Ireland and present selections of short classical pieces that are carefully chosen to be suitable for young children and adults alike.   It’s very informal and children are welcome to walk, dance or just chill out to a careful selection of short classical pieces designed both to engage and enchant.  

Pam Smith, concerts Manager, Belfast Music Society, said, “BMS is delighted to be introducing this new series at The Crescent Arts Centre. Chamber Cherubs was conceived in response to the huge interest we have had in our existing Chamber Babies concerts, and these new concerts are based on that popular model – relaxed, accessible performances with top local musicians in a really intimate setting – but with a touch more interaction and fun! Hopefully, we’ll be helping to nurture a life-long love of live music in the children – not forgetting their grownups, of course!”

The Arts Council of Northern Ireland is the Principal Funder of Belfast Music Society and The Crescent Arts Centre, Ciaran Scullion, Head of Music, Arts Council of Northern Ireland, added: “The importance of introducing children to music and the arts at an early age cannot be overestimated.  Belfast Music Society continues to bring the best in classical chamber music and local classical artists to audiences in Belfast and we’re delighted to see the launch of the new Chamber Cherubs series which is sure to be a hit with families everywhere. Get your tickets now!”    

Visit www.belfastmusicsociety.org for details on all upcoming concerts. 

Ciara Burnell and her baby Lucy Burnell-McAleavey, with musicians Kristine Donnan (piano) and Laura McFall (Voice).
Ciara Burnell with her baby Lucy Burnell-McAleavey, musicians, Kristine Donnan (piano), Laura McFall (voice) and baby Aoife McDonough-Brown.