Friday, 30 April 2010

Schools Exchange

Wednesday evening I was invited to a cross-border schools exchange at Lorne House, Cultra, - Headquarters of the Girl Guides in Ulster. Two schools, Movilla High School (my old school) and Blackrock from Dublin. My role was to discuss with the students Ulster Scots Musical Traditions and it seemed to be quite successful. They were keen to play the instruments and take part in Question & Answer sessions - so all in all an informative and important night.

My hosts looked after me well with great food and good company.


Monday, 26 April 2010

Hymn - The Servant King

Sunday morning we attended Greenwell Presbyterian Church Newtownards as usual. Michael took the service and we were treated to this wonderful Hymn one of my favourites - thought I would post it!


Sunday, 25 April 2010

'Sir Thomas Smith Booklet'

Loughries Historical have been fortunate to have been involved in an exciting new historical project - 'Sir Thomas Smith's Forgotten English Settlement of the Ardes & North Down in 1572' If you are familiar with the Hamilton - Montgomery story of 1606, than you may have heard of Sir Thomas. If not, then you are in for a real treat. a Historical booklet has been produced and is to be launched very soon.

If you are in the know - then by now you will have received an initiation by now.

The invitation to the launch of a wonderful new historical booklet 'Sir Thomas Smith's Forgotten English Settlement of 1572' The booklet is the work of Mr. Mark Thompson, former Chair of the Ulster Scots Agency, Local Historian, Designer and Musician - assistance in the printing and publication of the booklet has been provided by Loughries Historical Society.

The booklet launch will take place in the Londonderry Room, Town Hall, Newtownards on Friday 14th May 2010 at 7.30. Special guests for the evening will be Minister for DECAL Mr. Nelson McCausland MLA and Mayor of Ards Cllr. Billy Montgomery.

It is shaping up to be a great night - if you are interested in coming along please drop me an e-mail and I will see you get an invitation.


Ulster Scots - Schools

As usual this week I will be visiting schools throughout Ulster, bringing the Ulster Scots message through their doors. A steady increase of schools seeking Ulster Scots material are coming on board weekly, in fact demand has already outstripped supply.

Since the Easter break I have been able to take on 3 additional schools, my diary is filled to capacity - I don't mind this at all. The 3 new schools are Longstone P.S in Ahoghill, Kilrea P.S. and Cumber Claudy, all three are seeking Lambeg Drum and tin whistle tuition.

Each week I attend 13 schools, teaching Lambeg Drum, Fife and tin whistle and I always like to introduce a little Ulster Scots history and a basic language quiz - as I take my music lessons. It is all great fun and has added a new and different element of interest into the school.

It would be fair comment to suggest that all the schools that I attend have a great interest in Ulster Scots, and are increasingly interested in Music, History, Language, Dance etc. The schools seem to prepare a package of Ulster Scots activities, rather than a single element like language or history - but a mixture of all elements gets the children and teachers excited and interested.


Thursday, 22 April 2010

johnny cash - the night they drove old dixie down

Well, a trip back into the American Civil War 'stuff' - I like this tune/song, I do like other versions of this, however this cover by 'The Man In Black' has more power!


Sunday, 18 April 2010

Model Fair

Today Matthew, Christopher and I paid a visit to the Annual North Down Model Fair, at Bangor Leisure Centre. There was a great crowd there with plenty of exhibitors and great sets. Folk had travelled from all over Ireland to the exhibition and it was a worth while trip I'm sure.

Usually my boy's attention span lasts maximum 30 minutes, but today we spent 2 1/2 hours trawling around the exhibits. It brought back childhood memories for me as I was an avid fan of making models, especially model tanks and soldiers - my boys were more interested in the train sets and aeroplanes. A kind elderly gentlemen had a great train set and he allowed my boys to 'shunt' some trucks with a steam train - well they were in their element, I never got a go!

Well back to work again tomorrow and I am looking forward to that. Gary Blair one of our development workers with the Ulster Scots Agency has been busy again and has opened a few new schools for me - which I plan to visit this week - 'a change is as good as a rest' - Thanks G


Friday, 16 April 2010

Raglan Road

A delve into the traditional Irish Music scene - This time an old favourite of mine Raglan Road.

This particular song has been covered by so many people, the two versions I prefer are by The Chieftans & Van Morrison and this one by Sinead O' Conner. She is a great singer and what stands out in the tune for me is the whistle playing - magical - where's my Low G Dixon Whistle!


Mayor's Parlour 2

Friday 9th April 2010: I mentioned last week that members of Loughries Historical Society (Ulster Scots) - a group that I am a member of in Newtownards, had received an initiation to visit the Mayor of Ards in his Parlour at the Council Chambers.

Photo 1 My Mum Ellen Anderson - My Sister Joy Burgess - plus 2 x staff from the Renal Unit.
Photo 2 John Holland, David Cargo, Harold McVea, Mayor Cllr Monygomery, Myself Renal Staff.
Photo 3 A few Loughries members + Mayor + Renal Staff.
Loughries had collected £400.00 for 2 x charities - Cancer Research UK (Mayor's Charity 2010)and Loughries Charity for 2010 - The Renal Unit Ulster Hospital Dundonald. A third cheque was also presented, this was also donated to the Renal Unit Ulster Hospital Dundonald - by Ards Chosen Few RBP 290 (A Preceptory in the Royal Black Institution) of which I am a member.
It was a very enjoyable evening and our group were well received and entertained by the Mayor Cllr Billy Montgomery, himself an Ulster Scot enthusiast.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010


Well, that time of the year again - yes, planting the vegetables. Weather has been very warm and dry the last few days, but now there is a break on the horizon it is time to get on with the planting.

Shallots, garlic, red onions, scallions, beetroot, onions and 7 drills of British Queens all planted. I will give it another 10 days then plant the same again, including carrots, parsnip, broccoli and tomatoes.

Lawns fertilized and half the wood around the garden painted - you have to start early and stay ahead or you will play catch up and get frustrated!

Every tried growing your own? if not get out there and try it.


Friday, 9 April 2010

Mayor's Parlour

Mayor of Ards Cllr Billy Montgomery, has extended an invitation to Loughries Historical Society, in recognition of our hard work and endeavour - promoting the Ulster Scots / Orange Culture in the Borough of Ards throughout 2009/10.

At this gathering, Loughries intend to present the Mayor with a cheque for £200.00, to go towards his chosen charities in 2009/10. Also two Nurses have been invited along from the Renal Unit, Ulster Hospital, Dundonald - Loughries intend presenting the Nurses with a cheque for £200.00 for their use in the Ward.

Thirdly, Members of Ards Chosen Few RBP 290 - my Black Preceptory, will also be there to present a cheque for £200.00, to the Renal Unit - in memory of my Father Blakely Anderson.

So looking forward to that, report later.


Monday, 5 April 2010

Lying Low - Again

Sadly, I have gone down with something again. I have been off my feet for two day's again perhaps I need to slow down a bit.

I have been very busy in work and dealing with 'certain issues' hopefully, I can now rest the remainder of Easter, recharge my batteries and get ready for a new term at schools.


Tenebrae Service - Service of the Shadows 2

Well, Friday night was a wonderful Religious Service. The Presbyterian Church in Portaferry was almost full to capacity for the Service of the Shadows.

I went down for a practice, 1 hour before the service with the Rev. Grey. He was very calm and assured - he had been interviewed on Radio Ulster earlier that afternoon to promote the event, I declined. That concluded we retired to the old School House for tea, coffee and a light supper.

I returned to the Church to get Prudence, (my drum) ready. I sat patiently watching all the folk arrive - it was quite a surprise to see so many people that I knew! Then at 730pm precisely, the service commenced with choir then readings the whole way through the service - for around an hour, it became my turn - I played what was needed and the service ended in complete silence, wonderful. I have to say I had never been to a Religious Service like that one before - I did find it very, very moving.

It truly was a magnificent service a lot of hard work had gone on in the background to make this service a success, so congratulation to Neil McClure, the Church Officials, Organist, Walter Love and the Choir. Across the road thanks to the caterers, for an excellent supper/s.

If a service like this one comes your, way make sure you get to be there - it is a great and humbling experience.


Saturday, 3 April 2010

CD Recording

A lot has been going on lately!

Soda Farls & Redemption Songs - the Thompson Brothers. I was invited by my good friend Mark T - to play a track on my 'F' whistle - 'Some say the Devil's Deid'. Recorded a local studio - it was a great experience for me as I am a self trained 'musician' in fact I don't really see myself as that - nevertheless it was great. The CD will be launched very soon and I look forward to that.


Tenebrae Service - Service of the Shadows

I appeared on page 3 of the Belfast Newsletter o n Friday afternoon. I was pictured in Portaferry Presbyterian Church with one of my drums – Prudence and Izzy McClure. I don’t have the photo however here is the article: -

A DRAMATIC Good Friday service will tonight feature an instrument not normally heard within the dignified serenity of a church.
The iconic Lambeg drum has had many a child clasping their hands over their ears on the Twelfth of July - but today it will be the centre of attraction on a completely different stage as the drum is set to play its part in the Tenebrae Service, also known as the Service of the Shadows, at Portaferry Presbyterian Church.

Lambeg drummer Mark Anderson will join the Rev David Gray and congregation for the traditional service which dates from the fourth century and, through readings from the Gospel of St Matthew, tells the story of Christ’s journey from the Mount of Olives to Golgotha, the Cross and the Tomb. The event will also feature community choir, the New Quay Singers; Walter Love as narrator; and organist Joe McKee.

Mark, who normally tours the country performing for the Ulster-Scots Agency, believes he could be set to make a little bit of history. “I’ve never heard of the Lambeg being played in a church before, so maybe I will be the first,” he said. “Normally I play the Lambeg for schoolchildren and other events, so it will definitely be a bit strange playing it during a service. “But I’m delighted to have been asked to perform, and playing it on Good Friday will make it all the more special.”

Each reading from St Matthew’s account of the Crucifixion represents a “shadow” - the shadows of the Agony of the Spirit, Betrayal, Desertion, Remorse, Accusation, Humiliation and the Crucifixion. As each reading ends, a candle is extinguished, bringing the church to the near total darkness that engulfed Golgotha at the Crucifixion.

As the narrator tells of Christ’s final moments, the Strepitus (Latin for “great noise”) will be sounded by the Lambeg drum, a reminder of the thunder and earthquake that accompanied His death. The idea for introducing the Lambeg was the brainchild of Neil McClure, who will lead the choir at tonight’s service. “It will be a sombre occasion, but we are really excited about hearing the sounds of the Lambeg drum, which is the perfect instrument to replicate the sound of the thunder which accompanied Christ’s death,” said Neil.

“We are slightly nervous about this, it is very unusual, but we are really looking forward to what will we hope will be a very special service. “This is all about bringing music to the young people across the community and it will be a very unique and hopefully a very memorable way of marking Good Friday.

“We have singers coming from Stewartstown in Tyrone and Broughshane in Co Antrim. It is a truly cross-community choir, and it is great that we can celebrate this most important date in the church calendar together.”

The Tenebrae Service at Portaferry Presbyterian Church gets under way at 7.30pm.

I will report later on the service, however none of ‘my quotes’ were ‘my quotes’ – made up by the Newsletters house reporter!


Lying Low

Sadly, I was off my feet this week - I took ill on Saturday and spent most of the week in bed or in the house, as the week moved on my health improved - man flu Mrs Anderson suggested!

It was a very good week to be ill, ice storms, torrential rain, frost, strong winds –it was good to be house bound. I do feel so sorry for all the folk throughout Ulster who have suffered so harshly by this very unusual storm.