Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 12 July 2014

Ulster Orchestra hailed for striking chord with elderly

The Ulster Orchestra has won a prestigious community award after it launched a series of concerts to bring classical music into the lives of elderly people.

The scheme, set up in partnership with local employer JTI UK, aimed to help thousands of people in Northern Ireland attend orchestral music events.

Elderly residents of Ballymena and Armagh were invited to attend concerts by the Ulster Orchestra in the Waterfront Hall in Belfast free of charge throughout the winter months.

The initiative, Move To The Music, is a ticket and transport scheme aimed at people over 70 living on their own.

Residents are offered a free door-to-door community bus, concert ticket and a hot drink at the venue. The programme continues until May.

The partnership also organised a series of lunchtime music events, featuring internationally-renowned classical artists. The award was presented to Ulster Orchestra and JTI representatives at the Allianz Arts and Business NI Awards on Thursday night.

Muriel (74), a pensioner from Ballymena, said she had really enjoyed the free music events. “Being enabled to attend the Move To The Music events has been for me a real highlight of the winter months,” she said. “Going to the Waterfront is such a treat and to be picked up at my door and delivered back on my doorstep is wonderful.”

Lydia Gamble, head of marketing and development for the Ulster Orchestra, said she was “delighted” that the scheme had been recognised by the award.

Karen Orchin, head of community relations at JTI, said: “It is great to be acknowledged by arts and business.”

For more information on Move To The Music or the lunchtime concerts programme, visit www.ulsterorchestra.com.

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