The 2007 season has now come to an end after a full and varied Christmas engagement list.
One of the highlights of the Christmas season was the annual carol concert held by Victoria primary school. A review of this carol concert appeared in the East Antrim gazette on Wednesday 19th December 2007 written by Jim Parkes which we have reproduced below.
Victoria, You raised ME Up!
Victoria Primary School once again held their annual carol service in First Carrickfergus Presbyterian Church, North Street. As in former years it attracted a “full house” of pupils, staff, family and friends, and lived up to its reputation for superb production and excellent performance.
Such is the fleetness of time it semed simply to be a quick follow-on from last year’s service. The production cast remained largely unchanged, while those in performance altered only by the number of their fellow P7 pupils who had moved on to higher scholastic honours.
After Rev. M Gault’s welcoming address and opening prayer, the scene was set for the short evening (the children had to be up for school the following morning!) of light entertainment and serious reflection.
Over the course of seventy minutes, we were hugely entertained by vocal renditions from the junior and senior choirs and pleasing little instrumental presentations by the school orchestra and 3rd Carrick Brass band.
These entertaining offerings were interspersed with festive-flavoured Biblical readings and carols sung by the packed congregation. The customary Nativity drama, this time with a Russian flavour, was enacted by P6.
Under the musical direction and ebullient baton of Heather Shanks, the junior and senior choirs performed admirably. As both seperate and combined units, they sang with great feeling, enthusiasm and technical merit. This emotion and their precision in rhythm and diction were clearly evident of the strong rapport between them and their teacher and mentor, the accomplished Miss Shanks.
I, personally, was very moved by the senior choir’s rendition of “You Raise Me Up”. It struck such a deep emotional chord in me I am bound to say I have NEVER heard it sung better by a primary school choir. It was inspirational! The words of that sweet and poignant song were enunciated with crystal clarity and an empathy (with its deeper meaning and message) that seemed far beyond the years of those young choristers. The melody and harmony sections blended beautifully and, as well as being a lesson in synchronicity, it was an inspired performance by both teacher and pupils.
Another highlight was the polished performance of 3rd Carrick Brass Band and the natural ability of its conductor, Desmond Graham, to strike up an instant rapport with adults and children alike. His little quips, jokes and anecdotes made the occasion a light-hearted as well as a serious one.
One other musical contribution which especially “tickled the funny bones” of the children featured a quartet of teachers who staged a kind of blast from the past. On their “old instruments” Mr Newman, Mr Armstrong, Mr McMaster and the indomitable Miss Shanks “huffed and puffed” out the strains of “We wish you a Merry Christmas”. If judgement of their act had to be made it might be said that, while their instruments were still sparkling, they themselves were a bit rusty!
Seriously, there was only one judgement to be made at the final curtain: all those who worked hard to put on this little carol service and all those who took part in its performance deserve the highest praise for excellence.
©East Antrim Gazette 2007 – Jim Parkes
After the Christmas and New Year festivities, the band will start rehearsals for what is going to be a very busy year of competitions, concerts and festivities and we very much look forward to your continued support during 2008.