Sunday, 24 March 2013

Tenebrae Service on Good Friday 29th March at 7.30pm

A couple of years ago I was invited to take part in this service, by Neil McClure, through our mutual good friend Mark Thompson - here we are 4 years later and I have invited back once again.

The Lambeg drum of course is a particularly unique musical instrument and well suite to play the part of Strepitus - the great noise.

This is a very moving and dark service and one I really enjoy participating in.

See details below.


friends of  PORTAFERRY


Irish actor, Roma Tomelty, will be returning to her roots in Portaferry as narrator at the annual Tenebrae Service on Good Friday 29th March at 7.30pm. 

Local choir, the NewQuay Singers, will perform Haydn’s “Seven Last Words of Christ”.  Four outstanding young soloists will join them: Mary McCabe, from Downpatrick, soprano; Laura Lamph, Belfast, contralto; Luke Sinclair – a leading young English opera star , tenor and Páidí Ó Dubháin, Brussels (and Warrenpoint), bass.  The Ireland String Quartet, Richard Campbell, (organist in St George’s) and Gill Withers (doublebass) will provide the accompaniment. 

As the service progresses Roma will read St Matthew’s story of Christ’s journey from the Garden of Gethsemane to Golgotha and the Crucifixion.  At the end of each lesson the lights are dimmed a little until the church descends into complete darkness and Mark Anderson uses his Lambeg Drum to provide the Strepitus - the great noise, signifying the earthquake and thunder that accompanied Christ’s death.

More information on

 Roma Tomelty Returns!

Roma Tomelty, the distinguished Irish actress, returns to Portaferry on Good Friday as narrator at the annual Tenebrae Service in Portaferry Presbyterian Church at 7.30pm.  This is a dramatic and ancient Passiontide service where the Gospel of St Matthew is divided into Seven Shadows – ‘The Agony of the Spirit’; ‘Betrayal’; ‘Desertion’; ‘Remorse’; ‘Accusation’; ‘Humiliation’ and ‘The Crucifixion’.  Each ‘shadow’ is represented by a candle and as each lesson is read its candle is extinguished bringing the church, eventually, to almost total darkness – just as darkness descended on Golgotha at Christ’s death.  In the darkness the earthquake and thunder that St Matthew related will be symbolised by the playing of the Lambeg Drum.
 Roma’s readings will be punctuated by Haydn’s ‘Seven Last Words of Chirst’ sung by the NewQuay Singers.  They will be joined by four superb young professional voices – Mary McCabe (soprano) from Downpatrick; Laura Lamph (contralto) from Belfast; Luke Sinclair, a brilliant young English tenor; and Paidi O Dubhain (bass) from Brussels (and Warrenpoint).   The Ireland String Quartet, Richard Campbell, organ and Gill Withers, double bass, will accompany the performance.  
The Rev David Gray, who will take the service, commented: “Good Friday is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.  This will be the fourth time that we have held a Tenebrae Service and without doubt it is a dramatic and very moving occasion.  There are few better ways to remember the momentous events of the Crucifixion and we welcome everyone to join us as we contemplate and celebrate this pivotal point in the Christian calendar.”
Ian McDonnell, Chair of the friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church said “We, the friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church are very pleased that our community choir is again joining the congregation to mark Good Friday in this very special and memorable way.  We are particularly pleased to welcome Roma Tomelty back to Portaferry to read the lessons and such a wonderfully accomplished group of musicians to support our community choir.  Portaferry’s Grade A listed Greek Temple makes a spectacular backdrop for the occasion and it is always inspiring to see so many people, of all ages, attending.”
Everyone is welcome to join the congregation for this inter-denominational event.  There will be a retiring collection at the end of the service in aid of the church restoration funds.  Further information can be found at


Roma Tomelty: The daughter of Portaferry’s most famous literary son and sister of the celebrated actress Frances, Roma has been a professional actress for over 40 years.  She has worked in Theatre in Ireland, England, Scotland and San Francisco.  Currently, she is Artistic Director of Centre Stage Theatre Co.  Roma is also the author of several plays including 'The Wind and the Sleeping Harp' on Moore's Irish Melodies, written..."to force Uncle Peter (the late Peter Tomelty) out of retirement!"  It worked and the play was performed across Ireland, Scotland (including the Edinburgh Festival) and represented N Ireland at London's Prestigious Sense of Ireland Festival in both London and Brussels. 

Portaferry Presbyterian Church is widely acknowledged as one of the best neo-classical, Greek revival buildings in Great Britain and Ireland. 
The NewQuay Singers is a ‘community choir’ run by the friends of Portaferry Presbyterian Church (fPPC)

For this performance the choir will be joined by the Ireland String Quartet, Richard Campbell, organ; and Gill Withers, Double-bass.

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