Traditions are what make Christmas special for a lot of people. For me it’s decorating the tree, helping my mum with her cooking, my Christmas Eve Chinese (weird, I know) and ‘Ireland in Christmas Praise’ by New Irish Arts.
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My last tradition of the Christmas season took me to Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn for ‘Sinbad The Sailor’, the annual pantomime from the Lambeg Players. My first experience of their annual pantomime was way back in January 1993 and we have been going as a family ever since, with this year being my 25th outing.
I’m always wary of the term “amateur dramatics”, as The Lambeg Players are anything but amateurs. They were formed in 1966 by the late Clifford Boyd OBE and rehearse in Harmony Hill Presbyterian church. As well as their annual pantomime, they perform several plays throughout the year, including a week at the Portrush Summer Theatre.
Everyone has different things they do at Christmas, and that is what makes it unique for each person. My traditions vary from the oldies, such as my Christmas Eve Chinese (don’t ask), to my more recent ones, such as seeing ‘Ireland in Christmas Praise’, performed by New Irish Arts.
If you haven’t heard of New Irish Arts before, they were formed in 1994 by the very well known contemporary hymn-writer Keith Getty. They continue to go from strength to strength and now have several hundreds members in both a choir and orchestra and they formed a Youth Choir a few years ago.
If you have been a follower of this blog for a while, you will have worked out that I am a big fan of New Irish Arts. Indeed it has gotten to the stage where members of the group refer to me as some sort of “groupie” and I think some start and get a bit nervous when I don’t show up to things.
It’s because of my (strange??) fascination with all things New Irish that I ended up in the Waterfront Hall last Saturday night for the 60th anniversary concert of Operation Mobilisation (OM).
I have several Christmas traditions. Some of them are strange, such as having a Chinese for dinner on Christmas Eve, but most of them are perfectly normal, such as always going to get our Christmas tree with my mum. One of my more modern traditions is heading to the Waterfront for Ireland in Christmas Praise, presented by New Irish Arts.
Thursday 7th January took me to Lagan Valley Island in Lisburn for an adaption of the traditional ‘Jack and the Beanstalk’, performed by the Lambeg Players. My first experience of their annual pantomime was way back in January 1993 and we have been going as a family ever since, with this year being my 23rd outing.
Over recent years I have started some new Christmas traditions. One of these is going to the “Ireland in Christmas Praise” concert by New Irish Arts, which was last Friday night in the Waterfront Hall.
For those who have never heard of New Irish Arts, they were formed in 1994 by the Irish contemporary hymn-writer Keith Getty. They now have several hundred members in both a choir and orchestra and a few years ago formed a Youth Choir.
So One Direction cancelled the first night of a three-show run at the SSE Arena last night. You can’t have missed it and it even made the main BBC, Sky and ITV news last night, as well as other news outlets across the world.
There has been lots of speculation as to whether Liam was actually ‘sick’ or whether he was just suffering from the effects of something else. There were also rumours flying around last night that the reason why the band cancelled at the last minute was because that was the only circumstance that their insurance would cover them. However, it is the wider situation that gets to me more.