Rebecca’s UO Starring Role

Carrickfergus Grammar School’s Rebecca Whiteside played a starring role at the Ulster Orchestra’s Time Travel concert for schools this week (26 February) when the Year 9 pupil conducted Northern Ireland’s only professional symphony orchestra in front of her friends and 750 students from 19 schools in Belfast’s Ulster Hall.

Thirty thousand people of all ages and musical abilities get to know the UO through its education and outreach programmes each year and this week’s free schools’ concert was the first in this year’s education programme.

Pupils (from Year 8 upwards) and teachers from schools in Counties Antrim, Down, Armagh and Tyrone got a chance to hear the story of the orchestra unfold from a small string ensemble to the 60-plus players and their instruments we see today. Telling the story, pupils were treated to a musical journey across time that started in the 17th Century with the music of Purcell and culminated with a taste of the 21st Century with music to the hit movie Pirates of the Caribbean.

“The programme also featured music by Handel, Mozart, Britten and Andrew Lloyd Webber,” Lydia Gamble, the Ulster Orchestra’s Head of Marketing and Development said. “Rebecca, with the help of conductor Alasdair Malloy, conducted Stravinsky’s Infernal Dance from his ballet The Firebird.”

Carrickfergus Grammar School’s Rebecca Whiteside conducting the Ulster Orchestra – with the help of conductor Alasdair Malloy – at the Orchestra’s free Time Travel schools’ concert in Belfast’s Ulster Hall.

“Time Travel is the fourth year that we have organised this successful event and once again there was a strong uptake from schools. After the Belfast concert we took the Time Travel to Derry’s Millennium Forum were 550 young people from 14 schools across Derry, Tyrone and Donegal enjoyed the concert.

“Not only has the Ulster Orchestra invested in the cultural life of Northern Ireland for 46 years now, it continues to invest in the next generation through education programmes like Time Travel. I hope Rebecca enjoyed her starring role,” Lydia said.

SNAP! Take Part in Bangor’s Easter Parade!

The King & Queen of Diamonds, Ben & Clara, getting ready for this year’s Diamond Masquerade Parade ahead of Bangor’s Easter celebrations.

This year’s annual Easter Parade and Funday is taking place on Monday 9th April.

This year’s parade will have a Diamond Masquerade theme and everyone is encouraged to join in the fun by coming along in diamond themed fancy dress. This event is accessible to everyone and we are currently recruiting local groups to come along and take part in the parade on the day.

If you work with a group, then please get in touch!  A two hour workshop will be held in the weeks prior to the event, to give people the opportunity to create diamond masquerade themed costumes and accessories to wear on the day.

If this is of interest to you and you would like to get involved in the fun please contact Stacy Eakin on 028 9127 8051 or


with guests
All American Rejects & Four Year Strong

Blink-182 make a triumphant return to Ireland this Summer for dates in Dublin and Belfast on their first arena tour in almost 8 years.

All American Rejects have just been announced as main support with Four Year Strong joining the line up for the Irish shows.

Blink 182 plus special guests:

Thur 07 June 2012 – Birmingham NIA
Fri 08 June 2012 – London The O2
Sat 09 June 2012 – London The O2
Tues 12 June, 2012 – Dublin, The O2 0818 719300 All American Rejects & Four Year Strong
Wed 13 June 2012 – Belfast Odyssey Arena 028 9073 9074 All American Rejects & Four Year Strong

Fri 15 June 2012 – Manchester Arena
Sat 16 June 2012 – Birmingham LG Arena
Sun 17 June 2012 – Sheffield Motorpoint Arena
Tues 19 June 2012 – Newcastle Metro Radio Arena
Wed 20 June 2012 – Glasgow SECC
Sat 07 July 2012 – Bournemouth BIC
Tues 10 July 2012 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Wed 11 July 2012 – Nottingham Capital FM Arena
Thur 12 July 2012 – Liverpool Echo Arena

12 June: The O2, Dublin Tickets €44.20 inclusive of booking fee
13 June: Odyssey Arena, Belfast Tickets €38.00 inclusive of booking fee

Tickets are on sale now from Ticketmaster outlets nationwide and online at

Blink 182 were formed in San Diego in 1992 by Mark Hoppus and Tom De Longe and later joined by drummer Travis Barker. The bands breakthrough album, Enema Of The State, was released in 1999 and went on to sell in excess of 15 million copies worldwide. Their next two albums, Take Off Your Pants And Jacket (2001) and blink 182 (2003) cemented their position as a pop punk supergroup. Additionally the band have won a number of MTV Awards throughout their career. Their latest album Neighborhoods was released last year.

Tickets for blink-182 live in Ireland this June are on sale now!

For more see: / /

Ulster Orchestra set for Burns Night spectacular

The Ulster Hall, the home of the Ulster Orchestra, will resound to the Songs of Robert Burns tonight (25 January) in Ye Banks and Braes, a spectacular Burns Night celebration concert to mark the birthday (his 253rd) of Scotland’s National Poet.

Eddi Reader, the leading Scottish exponent of the songs of Robert Burns joins the Ulster Orchestra with her band in a unique collaboration with the Ulster-Scots Agency in a concert that brings together musicians from the Ulster-Scots and Classical traditions.

World champion piper Robert Watt from Maghera, County Londonderry, is joined on stage by the Sollus Highland Dancers and world champion drummer Mark Wilson; while the Ulster-Scots writer and poet, Wilson Burgess, will give the traditional Burns Address. The evening is presented by the Belfast actor, writer and playwright Dan Gordon and is conducted by the acclaimed conductor/composer Carl Davis.

Looking forward to the concert, which will be broadcast live on BBC Radio Ulster, Declan McGovern, the UO’s Chief Executive said, “Tonight is a great opportunity to experience Northern Ireland’s only professional symphony orchestra in a very different setting from its regular classical concerts. We are delighted to be partnering with the Ulster-Scots Agency, in a concert which is a must for everyone who loves the songs and poetry of Robert Burns.”

The Ulster-Scots Agency’s Chief Executive, Ian Crozier said, “This will be the first collaboration to take place between the Ulster Orchestra and the Ulster-Scots Agency and we are delighted to hear that so many people will be joining us tonight to celebrate the life and works of Scotland’s best loved bard Robert Burns.

“Robert Burns holds a special place in the hearts of the Ulster-Scots, in fact the influence of Burns in Ulster is such that it was said there was a time when there were but two books in Ulster homes, The Bible and Burns. It is testament to his legacy that so many people in Ulster, Scotland and across the world hold celebrations on his birthday and that 216 years after his death, his memory lives on.”

The concert will see Eddi Reader and her band perfom an number of Robert Burns’ songs with the Orchestra, including My Love is like a Red Red Rose, Green Grow the Rashes, O and Ae Fond Kiss, with the UO also performing Malcolm Arnold’s Tam O’Shanter Overture and his Scottish Dances, with Peter Maxwell Davies’ An Orkney Wedding at Sunrise, one of the few works in the classical reportoire that features the Bagpipes. Piper Robert Watt will also perform his own piece A Hero’s Tribute for Bagpipe and orchestra.

Looking forward to the concert, Wilson Burgess, the Aghadowey poet who will give the traditional Burns Address said, “As a writer of Ulster Scot verse it is a great opportunity for me to promote the Hamely Tongue and do justice to the work of Rabbie Burns. To share the stage with the Ulster Orchestra is a privilege and an honour, for which I am most appreciative. A hope al bae al richt on the nicht!”

Asked for his thought’s on tonight’s concert, presenter Dan Gordon confessed he’d try, “Not to blub like a big Jessie when Eddi sings My love is like a red red rose or Ae fond kis!”

Tickets are still available from the Ulster Orchestra on 028 9023 9955 or at


Dublin five piece The Riot Tapes announce their return to Northern Ireland

The band will play Auntie Annie’s in Belfast on Thursday 2nd of February (support TBA) and Sandino’s Back Room in Derry on Friday 3rd of February with special guest Paul Casey.

Click HERE to win tickets!

Formed in late 2009, The Riot Tapes are: Chris O’Brien, Elaine Doyle, Tim Clarke, Robert Crosbie and Graham Dunne.

The band released the single ‘Photograph’ in Ireland in April 2011 and it went straight in at number five on the Irish download charts. The Riot Tapes have since become a live favourite in Dublin, headlining and packing venues like Whelan’s, The Workman’s Club and The Grand Social.

This year The Riot Tapes went into the studio to begin work on their much anticipated debut studio album which is due for release early next year.

In October the band featured heavily on The Apprentice. ‘Photograph’ was also used for the advertising for the series on national television. The Riot Tapes even made an appearance during one of the episodes when the teams were given a task to find the best in Irish music – The Riot Tapes were even chosen by both teams!

During their previous visit to the North the band played a fabulous set at Sandino’s in Derry at which Bronagh Gallagher (singer and actress – Star Wars, Pulp Fiction, The Commitments, etc) made a surprise guest appearance.

The Riot Tapes returned to the Grand Social in December to play a special event called ‘Fighting Chance’. The gig was broadcast worldwide on the internet and was hosted by legendary broadcaster and music journalist Dave Fanning. The band were also invited to play as special guests to Ham Sandwich at their homecoming gig in Kells last month and then went on to be added as support at the Ham Sandwich New Year’s Eve Party in the Village.

‘Photograph’ has been receiving lots of radio air play nationwide since its release and the band are a must see live act.

Surprise Snowdrops

This winter, it was clear to be seen that the weather was milder than previous years, but for the snowdrops at The Argory and Springhill, it’s been a little confusing! The skies have been clear and as the sun comes out, so do the snowdrops, over a week earlier than usual.

This weekend, The Argory, near Moy and Springhill House, Moneymore will open a week earlier than planned so that visitors can experience every moment of these beautiful little flowers. Carpets of snowdrops will line the many walks around the properties; their bright, white nodding heads peeping through the undergrowth that bring with them a breath of fresh air and a sign that spring it on its way.

The small, white, bell-shaped flowers are always a welcome sight as winter draws to a close. Snowdrops are brave little flowers and the colder the weather, the longer they will last, with some flowering into March. Not only are the snowdrops brave enough to cope with whatever the weather throws at them, they are also the masters of subtlety. Their blue-grey spears have perforated the damp earth and the shoots have expanded and released their delicate, dangling green and white bells.

Come and meet these intrepid little flowers and enjoy an invigorating walk around The Argory and Springhill. Treat yourself to a hot drink in Springhill’s Servants’ Hall Tea Room or the newly renovated and eagerly awaited Courtyard Coffee Shop at The Argory; snug, warm and full of home baked produce. Don’t miss the opportunity to pick up an essential read in the second hand bookshops and treat yourself to something nice in the new and improved Argory gift shop, bulging with shelves full of new stock!

The Argory will be open on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 January and every Saturday and Sunday in February from 12 – 5pm daily. Springhill will be open on Sunday 29 Jan and every Sunday in February from 1-5pm daily.

For further information please contact the Argory on 028.8778 4753 or Springhill on 028 8674 8210.


BAFTA award-winning children’s television company Sixteen South, is searching for up-and-coming puppeteering talent to join their team and attend a workshop with a leading puppeteer.

We need you!!! The cast of award-winning children’s television company Sixteen South’s ‘Pajanimals’ are searching for puppeteers for their next series. Successful entrants will be trained by one of The Jim Henson Company’s lead puppeteers, Victor Yerrid, at an exclusive workshop in Belfast. Further information from Sixteen South on tel 028 9024 4675 (option 3). © 2011 The Jim Henson Company. All Rights Reserved.

Colin Williams, Creative Director and Executive Producer, Sixteen South, said: “We’re offering the opportunity of a lifetime for six talented people who have a real passion for puppetry to be trained by one of The Jim Henson Company’s lead puppeteers, Victor Yerrid.

“Outstanding workshop participants will be offered a paid position of Assistant Puppeteer on the production team of Pajanimals, which starts shooting on 27th February in Belfast for 10 weeks.

“You don’t need any previous television experience, although you must have a real passion for the art of puppetry and be over 18 to apply. We’re looking for someone who can truly bowl us over with their enthusiasm.”

The free workshop will be held on Wednesday 8th February at Sixteen South and for a chance to attend, applicants should send their CV with a one page description of why they should have one of the six places. Applicants can also send clips of previous work and deadline for receipt of application materials is Wednesday 25th January at noon. Shortlisted entrants will be interviewed on Tuesday 31st January.

Victor Yerrid‘s credits include: Bear in the Big Blue House, Sesame Street, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Team America, Just Like Heaven, Men In Black II, Robot Chicken, The Sarah Silverman Program, Crank Yankers, Angel, Drawn Together, Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars, Greg The Bunny, Between The Lions, Sid The Science Kid – and of course Pajanimals, the new pre-school show made in partnership with The Jim Henson Company, Sprout and Sixteen South.

For further information, contact Julie Gardner by email:, by telephone on 028 9024 4675 (option 3) or by post to Puppeteer Workshop, Sixteen South Television, 7-11 Linenhall Street, Belfast BT2 8AA.

All media enquiries to:
Nicola Bothwell, Sixteen South on 07590 606727 or


National Trust 2012 Science Show hosted by Lagan College, Saturday 28 January 11am-5pm, is guaranteed to amaze and excite the whole family with workshops and hands on activity from National Trust, Armagh Planetarium and GRAHAM Construction.

Marvel at the amazing show in the StarDome portable Planetarium, with a presenter from the Armagh Planetarium.

Be inspired by National Trust’s Geology Rocks, with the Divis and Black Mountain Warden, Go Wild Workshops, Go Potty Planting, Buzzing about with a Gardener and why not even meet the traditional Spade Maker.

Awe at the Flashes, Bangs and Explosions, fun in the science department with Lagan College and make building fun with Demos with Graham Construction.

Angela Watson, Visitor Services Manager from National Trust’s Belfast Properties, said:

“This is the first time we have held an event of this nature and we are delighted to be working in partnership with the local community, in particular, Lagan College, Armagh Planetarium & Graham Construction, who are all keen in getting kids interested in science.”

Nuala Griffiths, Community Liaison Officer, GRAHAM Construction, added:

GRAHAM Construction is  pleased to support this very worthwhile event and to work in partnership with the National Trust, Lagan College and the Armagh Planetarium to help create more awareness on the importance of science in the working world”.

There is a small charge of £2 per adults and under 16’s are free, so pop along and get involved in making Science fun!

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The King and I National Tour comes to the Grand Opera House.

Widely regarded as one of the greatest musicals of all time, The King and I recently embarked on a National Tour and this brand new production arrives at the Grand Opera House on Tuesday 31 January.

Seen by millions of people across the world since it was first performed in 1951, when it was showered with awards and became the blockbuster Hollywood movie, its glorious soundtrack is still a bestseller today.

Roger and Hammerstein’s mesmerising classic blends, music, drama, dance and a heart-warming tale. Told using one of the most beautiful scores ever written with sweeping melodies such as ‘Shall We Dance’, ‘I Whistle A Happy Tune’, ‘Hello Young Lovers’, ‘The March of the Siamese Children’ and the unforgettable ‘Getting To Know You’.

Sumptuous costume and set design akin to the decorative masterpiece of the Grand Opera House auditorium, this highly professional production, from the Curve Theatre Leicester, has a local feel with talented youngsters from across Northern Ireland playing the King of Siam’s children.

Ramon Tikaram and Josefina Gabrielle take on the roles of the King of Siam and Anna, and local schoolchildren appear in the show after auditioning pre Christmas. The Grand Opera House hosted open auditions as part of its Education and Outreach Programme which sees local schoolchildren have the chance to participate in, be rehearsed and perform in fully professional productions on the Grand Opera House stage.

The King and I is at the Grand Opera House from Tuesday 31 January until Saturday 4 February. Tickets range between £15.00 – £31.00 and are available from the Box Office on 028 9024 1919, online at or from the Box Office in the Theatre foyer.

Kerrang TV/Radio pick up N Irish band Trucker Diablo’s single Drink Beer, Destroy!

2012 is kicking off where 2011 finished! Following 2 successful support slots at sold out shows for Black Stone Cherry in Belfast and Dublin, and playing The O2 in London, where they closed one of the nights of the December Sessions Festival, Northern Irish band Trucker Diablo are pleased to announce Kerrang TV and Radio have picked up the single Drink Beer, Destroy.

Kerrang Radio has already been playing the song, and now Kerrang TV have confirmed the video will be aired on their channel on Sky/Freeview etc. The band have dates in the UK lined up for February and March including the Metal Hammer organised Hammerfest, where they will share the bill with the likes of Anthrax! Prior to that, this Saturday sees the band celebrate the US launch of their album The Devil Rhythm, with a Belfast show in Ma Nelsons.

Ricky Warwick –Thin Lizzy
“One of the best new bands from Northern Ireland!!

Cormac Nesson –The Answer

“Great album guys..Refreshingly honest Northern Irish rock n roll”

Joe Elliot- Def Leppard

“Absolutely Rockin stuff”

Classic Rock Magazine (Featured on April Edition 2011: Track 14)

This track has a huge groove that owes something to the Almighty and Thin Lizzy

Dom Lawson – Metal Hammer
“Excellent arse-kicking rawk action!”

Andy King –Total Rock
“Sounds like an anthem to youth, drinking and err… destroying! Aaah I remember those days!!

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