Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

And now, some different soul music

Pianist Michael McHale
Pianist Michael McHale

First Presbyterian Church, Rosemary Street, Belfast, Every Wednesday, July 20 until August 31, 1.15pm

The Rosemary Street recitals have become one of Belfast’s most popular seasonal classical music events, and rightly so.

A small group of enterprising presenters, including one of Belfast’s most respected music teachers from the past, Billy McKay from Methodist College, each year spend their own time and put tremendous effort into organising the series as a platform for young Irish musicians. In the beautiful, atmospheric setting of this historic church you can enjoy a Wednesday lunchtime of music-making of the very highest quality.

Each concert begins at 1.15pm and the series opens next Wednesday with one of Northern Ireland’s most charismatic young musicians, pianist Michael McHale (pictured). But it is in the role of accompanist that he appears in this series, with the young French-Canadian flautist Charlotte Bletton (who has been acclaimed by no less a personage than our own Sir James Galway) in a programme featuring Widor, Martin, Gluck, Tanada and Boehm.

On the recital programme over the coming weeks are two young artists from Dublin, baritone Benjamin Russell and pianist Kathryn Browne, who present a concert of music by Mozart, Faure, Poulenc and Tom Leher on July 27.

Belfast violinist Michael Trainor is already making a name for himself, particularly as a chamber musician, and in his concert on August 3 with pianist Lynn Carter, he will be playing music by Smetana, Dvorak and Grieg.

This is an imaginative and wide ranging series and worth a detour during your lunch hour.

There is no admission charge for these concerts but the organisers are grateful for financial contributions. Details on the line-up are available by calling in to the church.

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Your dry humour will be very popular. It's always difficult bringing a large group of people together. Everybody feels like they are walking on eggshells. After cracking a few jokes, you'll put the group at ease. Resist the temptation to make fun of relatives, especially the more sensitive members of the group. Nobody likes feeling singled out. Watching a light hearted comedy can also be a great way to generate a festive atmosphere. This is a time when people can put their differences aside.More