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Thousands attend Titanic events

By Michael McHugh

Thousands of people will attend Titanic commemoration events in Northern Ireland this weekend on the centenary of the liner's sinking.

The vessel struck an iceberg in the North Atlantic and sank on its maiden voyage on April 15 1912, with the loss of around 1,500 lives. It was built in Belfast's Harland and Wolff shipyard.

A Requiem for the Lost Souls will be held at Belfast's Church of Ireland Cathedral while a commemoration in music and film at the Waterfront Hall will feature well-known performers like Katie Melua.

Robert Ballard, the oceanographer who discovered RMS Titanic in its watery grave, will be in Belfast to deliver a memorial lecture.

It follows last night's open air performance in Belfast before 16,000 revellers at MTV's Titanic Sounds concert featuring dancehall artist Sean Paul among others.

Tonight's commemoration at the Belfast Waterfront Hall is to be shown live on the big screen in the grounds of Belfast City Hall and screened on BBC 2.

Bryan Ferry and Grammy award-winning soul singer Joss Stone are among the line-up for the event to mark the centenary of the Titanic's sinking.

The concert will begin at 8.30pm and will last until about 10pm.

More than 26,000 people applied for the 1,000 free tickets available for the Waterfront concert.

It will also feature performances by Nicola Benedetti, Charlie Siem, the Ulster Orchestra, Alfie Boe, Katie Melua, Mica Paris, Maverick Sabre and the Irish Harp Orchestra, with award-winning broadcaster John Humphrys hosting the event.

The show will include readings by Northern Ireland actors Bronagh Gallagher, Colin Morgan and Ian McElhinney.

Other contributors include Belfast-born actor Kenneth Branagh, Imelda Staunton and Simon Callow who will be reading accounts written at the time of the disaster.

There will also be the world premiere performance of Titanic Drums, an original composition by John Anderson, whose grandfather died following a fall from the liner while it was under construction, featuring 100 traditional drummers from across Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

It will also include a massed choir, soloist Peter Corry and six times world champion drummer Mark Wilson.

The Requiem for the Lost Souls of the Titanic is a specially commissioned work by Belfast composer Philip Hammond.

The choral sections of the requiem will be sung by the Belfast Philharmonic Society, the largest choral society in Northern Ireland. It will be joined by three other choral groups - the Irish choir Anuna, the Schola Cantorum of St Peter's Cathedral and Cappella Caeciliana, a chamber choir based in Belfast. Belfast-born mezzo soprano Jacqueline Horner will be performing. All acts are accompanied by the Downshire Brass Band from Belfast.

The Requiem will also feature readings from Belfast writer Glenn Patterson, plus a set of musical "meditations" written by Mr Hammond. There will be over 200 musicians taking part in the performance.

The Requiem will be staged in St Anne's Cathedral Belfast.

After the performance a torchlight procession will walk from the Cathedral to the Titanic Memorial in the grounds of the city hall, as an act of remembrance for all those who died in the disaster exactly one hundred years before.

Another commemoration is planned at the city hall tomorrow.

Belfast Telegraph


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