Ballymena Arts Festival 2012

2012 Festival Theme – Celebrating 25 years – Silver Anniversary

Arts Festival 29th March- 28th April 2012


Festival Launch event

International Gala in association with Ballymena Inter Ethnic Forum

Saturday 10th March, 7pm, Tickets free

Headlining Act - Bhangra Heads -semi-finalists of Sky1’s ‘Got to Dance’

Ballymena Inter-Ethnic Forum in Partnership with The Braid Arts Centre presents the Annual International Gala. Join us as we showcase and celebrate the talent we have among the diverse cultures that live in the Ballymena Borough, regionally and in the UK. 


Festival Opening Night

Willie Drennan, Martin Donohoe & Colum Sands present A Sharing of Tradition

Thursday 29th March, 8pm, Tickets £10

Maggie MacInnes, from generations of singers and storytellers on Barra and Colum Sands, from the great County Down musical clan, have pooled their considerable talents to weave a bi-lingual tapestry of songs, old and new, reaching across the waves that have divided and joined Scotland and Ireland over the centuries.  They will perform material from their much acclaimed album, ‘Seedboat’.

From another part of Ulster, Martin Donohoe and Seamus Fay will bring a taste of County Cavan. Martin is particularly recognised as an accordion virtuoso but is also a highly entertaining raconteur.  Seamus is a master of the ancient art of lilting.

To add to this mix Willie Drennan and members of his Ulster Scots band will provide a distinct local flavour. You’ll all know what to expect.  The end result will be a brilliant night of music, song and story celebrating the rich diversity of our cultural traditions.


Seven Towers Male Voice Choir in Concert

Friday 30th March & Saturday 31st March, 8pm, Tickets £8.00

For nearly 60 years the Seven Towers Male Voice Choir has been gracing the stage in Ballymena Town Hall. The festival is, as always, proud to have them back performing at The Braid Arts Centre.

Guest artists include Soprano Sylvia Burnside accompanied by Debbie Matier, together the duo is known as “Modern Romantics”, supporting artist Matt Brown, a Ballyclare Grammar School Student will be playing “The Marimba”.

The Choir will sing some popular pieces including; American Trilogy, Birth of The Blues, Deadwood Stage, From A Distance, Love Changes Everything, Shenan Doagh, and Bring Him Home.

Conducted by the Musical Director Thelma Strange and accompanied by Rea Shiels.

The Programme will be introduced by the Chairman Derek Murdoch.


Wine Tasting Evening

Wednesday 4th April, 7-9pm, Cost £15

Enjoy a glass of wine?  Come along to a tutored tasting and learn something while you drink.

We'll taste eight wines, see which style you prefer!  Complete novices and connoisseurs both welcome.


Silver Anniversary Taster Concert Programme

The Good Old Days Variety Concert

Thursday 5th April, 8pm, Tickets Two for One Taster Special £5        


A show for all ages that takes you back to a time when entertainment was great.  Some of you will remember shows like the Billy Cotton Band Show, Sunday Night at the London Palladium and the Good Old Days, the halcyon days of the Variety Show.  We hope you will enjoy our humble efforts to re-create the Music Hall Variety Shows that were popular in the late Victorian and the Edwardian periods, when entertainers performed musical, comedy and magic acts on stage. 



Muriel Day was the first person from Northern Ireland to represent the Republic of Ireland at the Eurovision Song Contest.  She established herself on Ireland’s Showband circuit as a member of the Saint’s Showband and the Dave Glover Showband.  ‘A Petal from a Faded Rose’ remains one of her best-known tracks with the latter.  Muriel emigrated to Canada in 1971 and continued to perform for several years.  She returned to Belfast in the 1990s and has been a regular on the Showband revival circuit and the subject of a TV documentary.

Horace Jaye – Northern Ireland’s undisputed premiere Comedy Magician, Horace makes regular visits to America where he appears in top cabaret venues and amazes audiences with his act. Jason Maguire was a finalist in The Alan Titchmarsh Show’s, Peoples Crooner Competition in February 2010.  He creates a wonderful atmosphere, singing songs from the Great American Song Book, Jazz, Swing and Big Band.  If you like the sounds of Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Andy Williams, Frank Sinatra, Paul Anka, Bobby Darin, Ray Charles and Bing Crosby, then you’ll love Jason’s performance. Chris Braniff – Even Hank Marvin has to admit it, young Larne guitarist Chris Braniff plays like a Shadow.  In fact 18 year old Chris is calling himself The Young Shadow and deservedly so according to the legendary Hank, who has listened to the lad strumming his hit Apache on a recording and told his sound-a-like in a personal message: “You sound just like me.”  BBC pop guru Paul Gambaccini thinks young Braniff is special too after listening to him. “How can one so young produce this amazing sound,” he said.  Chris has most recently featured in ‘Music Express’ on the Sky Showcase Channel. John Cooke – Mr Cool, the consummate professional, he is undoubtedly the best compere on the local circuit and a very funny man to boot. Sierra – This highly talented band are one of the busiest in the country, playing music to suit all tastes.  As well as being respected in their own right they are also regarded as a top backing band and rightly so.


Ballymena Chamber Orchestra in Concert

Friday 6th April, 8pm, Tickets TBC

Tonight is always a Festival favourite with the best in classical music from the Ballymena Chamber Orchestra. Tonight’s programme offers an exciting line up of classical favourites to suit the whole family.                        


Silver Screen Favourite Film with Barry Norman -Dirty Harry

Thursday 12th April, 7.30pm, Tickets £7


Silver Anniversary Taster Concert Programme:

Ballymena Arts Partnership Showcase Day

Saturday 14th April, Time TBC, Tickets £5


Silver Anniversary Taster Concert Programme:

Legends of Las Vegas Concert

Thursday 19th April, 8pm, Tickets Two for One Taster Special £5     

The Legends of Vegas are one of Ireland’s premier tribute acts, a high energy and fun showcase of the music of Elvis Presley, Neil Diamond, Johnny Cash, Tom Jones, Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble and Roy Orbison. Currently appearing on SKY TV Hot Country.

Comprising of a dynamic and energetic fully live band, Legends of Vegas are one of the most sought after tribute shows throughout Ireland. The high energy show is unique as it covers a wide range of Las Vegas legends.

Fronting the show, lead singer Paul O'Brien is authentic to every detail including vocal styles, stage presence and tailor made costumes. The 4 piece backing band comprises Drums, Bass, Guitar and Keyboards creating a full, rich sound that faithfully reproduces the legendary Las Vegas shows of seven of the world's all-time greatest stage entertainers.


Dublin Gospel Choir featuring The Festival Anniversary Choir

Saturday 21st April, Time TBC, Tickets £10            


Ballymena Young Conquerors in Concert

Thursday 26th April, 7.30pm, Tickets £10      

Founded in 1886, Ballymena Young Conquerors Flute Band is the Borough’s longest surviving musical group. Join us for an evening of the finest in music and song with this award-winning local band. Featuring a line-up of first class performers, an evening not to be missed for music lovers everywhere.


The David McWilliams Anniversary Tribute Concert

Featuring Singers in the Round

Friday 27th April, 8pm, Tickets £7

The Festival is proud to welcome five of Northern Ireland’s most talented singer songwriters who will perform in celebration of the life of David McWilliams for the 10 year anniversary of his death. Tonight’s fantastic line-up includes Tara Hoy, Bap Kennedy, Gordy McAllister, Bob Spears and Errol Walsh. You would be mad to miss this show!

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