Holywood Music Festival starts this Friday and it is the first UK festival to include a class for signing choirs.
Festival Secretary Linda Alexander has said the signing choirs is an exciting prospect as it has not been done before.
Signing choirs is an idea that opens up music for everyone.
It gives deaf people the chance to understand what others hear through sign language.
Dr. Paul Whittaker, founder of “Music and the Deaf” will adjudicate the festival’s new Signing Choir Class.
He is also involved with the workshops but is keen to stress that the workshops are for both deaf and hearing people equally.
There are a number of different workshops and classes taking place throughout the week.
These include traditional Irish, vocal, instrumental and piano classes.
Linda said: “The festival is geared towards the community. Lots of school children attend the festivals classes. It gives them an opportunity to develop their musical skills.”
For the first time this year the festival is unveiling the Katie Major trophy and a £250 prize for the winning performer.
The winner will be selected from the senior open performance class.
The prize has been kindly donated by Kenneth McNally as a memorial for his late wife.
The trophy made from silver and cast bronze was designed by Kenneth and created at Steenson’s Glenarm workshop.
The performers in the senior class will be grade eight and above. Linda says there will be an abundance of talent on display.
The open performances class will take place during both morning and afternoon sessions on Saturday, November 19.
Festival organisers are encouraging anyone who is interested in any of the classes or competition to enter.
Admission to the Katie Major competition is free for anyone competing in the festival. It is also open to their teachers.
The festival runs from November 11-19 in Queens Hall Holywood.
The full programme of events is available on the festivals website - www.holywoodmusicfestival.com