Thursday evening I attended Castle Gardens Primary School Newtownards for their Ulster Scots Spring Concert.
Around 250 people packed into the school assembly hall to attend the show with a disappointed 40 on a ticket waiting list! Honoured Guest for the evening was Jim Shannon newly elected MP for Strangford. As the audience gathered Keith Lyttle (fiddle) and Matthew Warwick (guitar) entertained the audience with some delightful music until the show was ready to commence
The concert began with senior choir then Junior choir, Junior choir sung 4 x nursery rhymes in Ulster Scots. Then 6 pupils spoke on their experience at Loughries Ulster Scots Summer School (which is held in Castle Gardens) this was accompanied by a slide show of 50 pics of the Summer School. Next up was my tin whistle group who played 5 tunes - I was very proud of them as they played very well indeed, this was followed by Keith Lyttle's fiddle group who excelled themselves - they were great. Kerry Jordan's dancers were on next and again they were excellent. 3x flautists - played 'The Londonderry Air'
The next piece was the highlight of the night for me - Ulster Scots Drama piece which was set in a school as an after school club on Ulster Scots Language it was hilarious and extremely well acted. Local Poet Wilbert Magill recited 3 of his poem and Matthew Warwick chipped in with a final poem.
Following a couple of speeches the Concert came to a close - then up to the canteen for a light supper, provided by the PTA.
To sum up - it was a terrific night for Castle Gardens School - a packed hall was treated to an evening of wonderful entertainment, the children excelled with great performances. Credit must go to the Principal of the school George Mawhinney who embraced the Ulster Scots tradition and associated cultures several years ago, when perhaps it was an unknown quantity, however George has reaped the benefit of that 'leap of faith' by having the Ulster Scots in his school.