Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Newtownards Christmas Rhymers 2012

When I was a young lad, around 9 or 10 years old, I was a primary 6 or 7 pupil at Victoria Primary School Newtownards. We were very fortunate to have many great and memorable teachers, one teacher that springs to mind instantly was Mr. Morrison - famed for is bushy eyebrows and great sense of humour, he was very much a local man.

Here is Mr. Morrison (white blazer) at the annual sports day at Victoria Primary School

I recall each year at the school either watching or when taking part in the annual school play called 'The Christmas Rhymers'. The performers would learn their parts in the play during late November / early December, this would not take too long as each part lasted between 3 or 4 lines of dialogue (except for the 2 main parts). We would also prepare our costumes and props - then it was time for the performances. The troupe of Christmas Rhymers would gather in Mr Morrison's room then in turn visit P1 then onto P2 and so on, right through the school to P7.

Christmas Rhymers, taken from 'Six Miles from Bangor - the story of Donaghadee & Copeland Islands.


This was all a distant but pleasant memory, until Christmas of 2011 when Mark Thompson sent me and Darren Gibson, a copy of a 'Christmas Rhymers' article that had appeared in a local history book about Donaghadee. Over that Christmas as I visited family and friends I introduced the subject of Christmas Rhymers and we had a great time reminiscing about the play and our 'aul school days' at Victoria Primary School.

I thought no more about the article until during one of my weekly visits to Lisneal College in Londonderry (to teach Lambeg drum and fife). Over a cup of tea Darren Gibson and I had a chat about the Christmas Rhymers play and suggested trying to re-establish the Christmas Rhymers play in a few local Schools in Newtownards - this is where I come in.

With my work as a peripatetic music tutor and experience as a Ulster Scots enthusiast with Loughries Historical Society in Newtownards, I made 2 telephone calls to schools in the town and they were very interested and keen to run with the play.

I will post another blog item on the Christmas Rhymers in a few weeks time and name the 2 schools involved and give you an update on the play.



No comments:

Post a Comment